National Soccer League

Remembering the highs and lows of the (Canadian) National Soccer League (1926-1997)

1961 Season

1961 National Soccer League

President: Walter Freer
Vice-president: Aldo Cecchi, Montreal
Directors: Charlie Jamieson, Toronto and M. Michalofsky, Toronto
Secretary-manager: Frank Thirkettle

Review of the season

The annual general meeting was held in Toronto on Saturday January 14, 1961. Walter Freer was re-elected as president of the league. Montreal Ukraina and Toronto Tridents were voted out of the league. As the two clubs had finished bottom of the league they had to re-apply for admission to the league and this was unsuccesful for both clubs. In a step to get away from being labelled an Italian club the Hamilton Italo-Canadians informed the league that they would change their name to the Hamilton Steelers. Toronto Sparta were also granted the right to a name change as an Italian group had purchased the club from Czech interests the previous season. The new name was to be Toronto Roma. The Hamilton club also suggested that the Toronto clubs should share the gate receipts for the matches in Toronto. This matter was tabled until the annual meeting was to be convened in Montreal on January 28.

The season opened on Sunday April 23 with Toronto Hungaria defeating Toronto Olympia 6-2 in front of 4,000 fans at Stanley Park.

Montreal Concordia also played in the International Soccer League that was organised by Bill Cox. The club was coached by Skender Perolli. The club won the Canadian Challenge Trophy for the second time in their history when they defeated Vancouver Firefighters in the final.

Concordia’s roster for the Canadian Challenge final was goalkeeper Emilio Svich; fullbacks Hector Lopez and Gabrielle DeToni; half-backs Charlie Horvath, Hector Marinaro and captain Tommy Barrett; forwards Steve Stancik, Hector Dadderio, Joao Jorge, Olivio Lacerda, Tito Maule, Jose Sanchez, Humberto Gambaro and Arpad Kiraly.

Toronto Roma won the league championship on Tuesday September 26 when they beat Concordia 4-1 in the final league game of the season. Concordia declined to take part in the play-offs as its foreign players were about to leave.

Toronto Ukraina captured its fourth National Soccer League title by beating Toronto Hungaria in the Labatts Cup finals. Ukraina won the best-of-three final in two straight games.

After the season Toronto Roma joined the ECPSL. The Toronto White Eagles applied to join the ECPSL, the application was accepted on the condition that the White Eagles operated out of Buffalo. The Polish club officials reluctently accepted this.  

Final standings

GPWLTGFGAPts
Toronto Roma2420 3 1792441
Montreal Concordia2417 5 2903636
White Eagles2411 9 4535126
Olympia-Harmonie241012 2576422
Toronto Ukraina24 813 3456719
Toronto Hungaria24 815 1376317
Ulster United24 219 32884 7

National Soccer League Play-offs

Play-offs (Round-robin series)

October 4, 1961 Toronto
Toronto White Eagles 0
Toronto Ukraina 2

October 5, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Hungaria 3
Toronto Roma 0

October 8, 1961 Toronto
Toronto White Eagles 2
Toronto Ukraina 3

October 9, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Hungaria 4
Olympia Harmonie 2 

Labatts Cup Finals

October ??, 1961 Toronto
Toronto Ukraina 1
Toronto Hungaria 0

October 22, 1961 Toronto
Attendance: 1,871
Toronto Ukraina 1
Toronto Hungaria 0

Exhibition game

July 13, 1961 Stanley Park, Toronto
Attendance:
National Soccer League All-Stars 3
Hapoel Petach-Tikva 1

Other Leagues and Cups

1961 Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League

Toronto City won the regular season league championship based on goal average over Montreal Cantalia.

GPWLTGFGAPts
Toronto City241110 3454125
Montreal Cantalia2410 95474425
Hamilton Steelers24 9 9 6455024
Toronto Italia24 911 4434522
Leading goalscorers:Goals
1. Peter Smethurst (Hamilton Steelers)16

President’s Cup

September 30, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,000
Toronto Italia 1
Montreal Cantalia 1

October 8, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,435
Toronto Italia 1
Montreal Cantalia 2

October 9, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Montreal Cantalia 3
Toronto Italia 0

Montreal Cantalia won the President’s Cup

Exhibition games

June 7, 1961 Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
Attendance: 3,568
Montreal Cantalia 3
Stade de Reims (France) 5
* Taped coverage of the game was shown later that night on CJOH

June 11, 1961 Hamilton
Attendance: 4,000
Hamilton Steelers 1
Stade de Reims (France) 8

June 14, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance: 5,000
Birmingham City 2
Stade Reims 1

June 18, 1961 Ottawa
Attendance:
Referee:
Ottawa & District All-Stars 1
Montreal Cantalia 6

June 21, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance:
Toronto Italia 0
Stade de Reims (France) 9

June 22, 1961 Delorimier Stadium, Montreal
Attendance: 3,600
Montreal Cantalia 1
Stade de Reims (France) 4

June 24, 1961 Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Attendance:
Toronto City 2
Stade de Reims (France)

1961 Ontario Cup

District qualifiers

Windsor District

Final

Windsor Caboto won the 1961 Ontario Cup

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