The visit of Russian club Zenit Leningrad in 1960 created a storm in the National Soccer League. The exhibition schedule planned for Canada, was described by officials connected to NSL clubs Tridents and Toronto Ukraina as a propaganda tour. Four games were scheduled in Canada, this included matches against the Manitoba All-Stars, British Columbia All-Stars, Alberta All-Stars and the Ontario All-Stars.
Before the start of the tour the leadership of Toronto Ukraina announced that none of their players would be eligible to play on the Ontario All-Star team. The first roster that was picked by Ontario Football Association secretary William Simpson consisted of seventeen players, including four players from Ukraina and two players from Tridents. Ostap Steckiw was selected to be the coach of the team. In the end Toronto Ukraina and Tridents reluctantly allowed that their players took part in the game. However, coach Steckiw was replaced by L. Lusky.
On Thursday night August 25 the Zenit team arrived by air in Toronto. The following day the Russian team was greeted in front of the city hall in Toronto by mayor Nathan Phillips and four of the city’s controllers.
The final game of Zenith’s tour kicked off at 8.00 p.m. on Saturday August 27, 1960 at Varsity Stadium in Toronto against the Ontario All-Stars. Seven minutes into the game centre-half Anatole Dergatchov scored from 20 yards to give the Russians a 1-0 lead. After 14 minutes right back Bob Kelly scored for Ontario. Mikal Ivanov scored Zenit’s second goal and outside right Valentin Aksenov increased Zenit’s lead to 3-1 just before half-time.
16 minutes into the second half Lev Bourtchalkin scored a fourth goal for Zenit. Toronto Hungaria star Imre Dora scored Ontario All-Stars second goal of the game. The game ended in a 4-2 win for Zenit Leningrad. In match reports in the newspapers after the game it was said that the Ontario players struggled with co-ordination, as many of the players were playing in different positions than they were used to.
The Russian club left for the Soviet Union later that Saturday night.
Ontario All-Stars roster
Goal: Herbert Pohl – Toronto Ukraina
Half-backs: Alfie Girvan – Toronto Ukraina; Stanislaw Domanski – White Eagles and Alberto Stabellini – Hamilton Italo-Canadians.
Forwards: Rolf Herrmann – Toronto Olympia; Zbigniew Kotaba – White Eagles; Hans Schellneger – Golden Mile and Alfie Lesz, White Eagles.