HISTORY OF A DYNASTY…
In 1989, members of the local Australian community in Toronto, Canada congregated to play a number of Australian Rules football matches. Sighting some growing enthusiasm, AFL Ontario which was then known as the Canadian Australian Football League and more recently as the Ontario Australian Football League (OAFL), was established later that year.
Soon after forming the AFLO, the pioneers of the league formed an affiliation with teams from the Australian Football League (AFL). This affiliation brought forward the formation of two teams – the Toronto Panthers and the Mississauga Mustangs.
1989 was a trying year for the Toronto Panthers as they lost every game that season until the inaugural Grand Final which saw the Toronto Panthers begin a legacy of winning football. The Panthers would defeat the Mississauga Mustangs 65 to 48 in the grand final, winning the inaugural Conacher Cup. The Panthers would then go on to win the next two Premierships, capturing three in a row amidst increasingly difficult competition.
At the end of 1991, amongst pressures of league expansion, many core Panthers left the club to form other teams. During these years, the team was pressured to recruit Canadian born players and introduce them to the game. In the next three years Toronto would fare well with one undefeated season, losing only by disqualification in the play-offs and another, which saw the Panthers once again make it all the way to the Grand Final.
By 1994, the Panthers were attracting many traveling or newly resided Australian players of top quality. That, combined with an exceptional base of talented Canadians players completed the rebuilding of their Championship squad.
1995 was a turning point for the Toronto Panthers football club as their new membership brought with it a new affiliation. The West Coast Eagles football club of the Australian Football League (AFL) would become the new sister club to the Toronto Panthers. That year the Toronto Panthers were reborn as the Toronto Eagles, trading their white with blue stripes for the blue and gold colors of the West Coast Eagles. To assist the Club with the transformation the West Coast Eagles would help by providing team uniforms and footballs, a gesture that was greatly appreciated by the club.
Regenerated as the Toronto Eagles, they would then go on to be undefeated the entire 1995 season, winning their fourth premiership in six years. Toronto’s high flying Eagles would then go on to capture the next four premierships in a row, establishing themselves as the dominant team in the AFLO. The Eagles would then fare well in the following two seasons but wouldn’t get their hand on the cup until 2002 when they would win their 9th premiership.
2006 and 2007 once again saw the Toronto Eagles tasting premiership glory as they would win back to back flags in impressive style. 2009 would see the Eagles win again, before a rebuilding phase. In 2017 the Eagles secured their 13th AFLO title in 26 seasons, firmly establishing the Toronto Eagles as the only true dynasty in AFL Ontario history.