The forerunner of the Sports’ Association UKRAINA in Toronto, Ontario, was the Sports’ Club “SKALA”, which was founded on May 16, 1948 at the local PROSVITAAA Society Hall. It was started by a group of sports enthusiasts who had recently imigrated to Canada, and was led by Wasyl Boytchuk.
Toronto Ukraina Sports Association was founded on June 30, 1948, in Toronto, Ontario. The club was incorporated under the Ontario Letter Patent on November 19, 1964.
After the initial organizational work, the founding meeting was held in May 30, 1948, at which time, the club’s name was changed to “Sport’s Association UKRAINA”. The first executive elected at the founding meeting consisted of: Wasyl Boytchuk – President; Oleksander Derzhko – Vice-President; Volodymyr Stoyko – Secretary; Ivan Chaykiwsky – Treasurer; and Mykhailo Kopach – Manager.
The Auditing Committee consisted of Oleksander Zheltvay, Stephan Genyk-Berezowsky and Roman Romanchukewych. The Associations’ Arbitration Commission consisted of M. Sorokolit, S. Mazepa and Ivan Bahlaj.
For his dedicated and successful efforts in establishing contacts with other Canadian sports’ authorities, Mr. S. Mackevych was honoured at the founding meeting by being appointed as the Honorary President of the Association.
The second annual general meeting of the Association was held on November 19, 1948, and saw the election of Myroslaw Welyhorsky as the new President. At this meeting, the members accepted the Constitution of the Ukrainian Fitness Council, approved its logo, and selected the colours of the Association.
At the height of its success from 1953 to 1960 S.A. UKRAINA in Toronto boasted the fielding of eight soccer teams, five volleyball teams, three table tennis teams, one hockey team, one basketball team, a baseball team, a boxing team and of operating a highly successful chess program.
In May 1949, a delegation consisting of Professor V. Hayowsky, O. Chykalo and M. Welyhorsky attended a meeting of the Canadian Dominion Soccer League, and proposed the application of the Club to become a member of the Soccer League. Thus, the Association became the first Ukrainian sports’ association to become a member of the Soccer League of Canada.
The first soccer team played in the second Division, winning twenty-five out of the thirty-three games, tying four and losing four games.
At the end of the 1949 season, SA UKRAINA captured the division title of the Senior League, the Daily Star Cup. It received recognition as the best team of the Senior League and won the Loblaws Cup, as the winner in the Inter-City competition between Toronto and Hamilton.
The brilliant success of the first soccer team of SA UKRAINA in the 1949 season made it possible for the Association to join the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE in 1950, the senior Ontario soccer league.
In the same year, the volleyball team captured the championship of the Intermediate League, and thereby the Toronto title. The chess team captured an impressive second place in the highest division. The Association’s basketball team captured the championship of the Ukrainian League.
The growth and success of the SA UKRAINA continued into 1951. It was this year, that the table tennis club achieved its greatest success. The men’s team, which consisted of Maksym Trofymovych, Valentyn Bilous and E. Stepko, captured first places and championship cups in both team and individual competitions, advancing to the highest Toronto Division. In double’s competition, M. Trofymowych and W. Bilous won the championship and the cup, defeating the four-time champion D’Eble of the Senior League. The women’s team advanced to the finals, but were defeated by FIREBANKS, who had the current Ontario champion as one of its team members.
The junior soccer team won the championship and the Ontario Cup, and senior team won its first NSL Cup.
Bill Entwist, writing in the Toronto Daily Star, remarked: “The Ukrainians operate the biggest soccer team system, having three youth teams in action. Now, the Ukes have 89 players, and it is easy to see that by 1952 they will have over 100 players.
Bill Entwist was right on target with his prediction, since by 1952, the SA UKRAINA Club had five soccer teams with 103 players; two volleyball teams with 14 players; two table tennis teams with 10 players; and a division of chess with 17 players.
In the 1952 season, both the junior and bantam teams of the soccer division of the Association won their respective league championships and cups. The table tennis team once again won the championship of the Toronto Division, and the first soccer team captured the Arnold Cup.
The fifth anniversary celebration of the Sports’ Association UKRAINA was held in Toronto in 1953. The first soccer team celebrated this anniversary by becoming the first “ethnic” soccer team in Canada to win the championship of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE. They also won the play-offs and emerged as the winner in the competition for the Broadview and Fred Hamilton Group.
The great success of the SA TORONTO UKRAINA soccer team and the success story of MONTREAL ITALIA (which, in fourty-three games only once conceded defeat), led the CANADIAN SOCCER ASSOCIATION to organize a “show-down” between the two best teams in Eastern Canada. The big game was played on October 10, 1953, and saw the Ukrainian team triumph a convincing 3:1 win over the ‘Azzuris”, thereby securing the status of being the best soccer team in Eastern Canada, and Canada as a whole.
For its constant development of soccer, especially at the junior level, the TORONTO SA UKRAINA Club, along with the MONTREAL ITALIA Soccer organization, received a letter of commendation from the Canadian Soccer Association.
As part of the fifth anniversary celebrations of the Association, TORONTO UKRAINA hosted an unofficial championship match for the primacy of Ukrainian Soccer in North America with the powerful “LEVY” (‘Lions’) team from Chicago, U.S.A. Close to 8,500 soccer fans watched this exciting game which was won by UKRAINA with a score of 6:1. The UKRAINA team proved once again that they were the best Ukrainian soccer team in North America.
Not to be outdone by the senior soccer team, the Junior UKRAINA soccer team also won the year’s championship and captured the Toronto Cup by winning the Toronto city championship.
The fifth anniversary celebrations of the Association concluded with the blessing of the Club’s flag, which was attended by a special guest from England, the Hetmanych Danylo Skoropadsky
The following year, 1954, continued to be a triumphant one for the Senior soccer team of UKRAINA. As defending champions, they again won the championship of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE. The team’s popularity and fame was illustrated by the many friendly games played against such teams as: “Sich” from Elizabeth, N.J., representing the state of New Jersey; the Winnipeg “Scottish” from Manitoba, teams from Ottawa, “Slovak” from Chicago, Ill.; “Plast-Pryat” from Philadelphia, Penn.; “Chernyk” from Detroit, Mich. and “Ukraina” from Montreal, Quebec.
Guest appearances in Winnipeg were covered by the local press:
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: “For Toronto UKRAINA, the Manitoba Selects were simply no match.”
THE WINNIPEGE TRIBUNE: The Ukrainians completely outplayed the Manitoba Selects with their quick passes, extraordinary speed and fantastic shots, which have not been demonstrated here for a long, long time.”
The Very Reverend Semen Izhyk, an outstanding Ukrainian community leader in Winnipeg, wrote about UKRAINA’s guest appearance in that city: “Your visit to our city, the Capital of Ukrainian Canada, did more to our political and patriotic life than any of our concerts or public manifestations.”
In 1955 Ivan Suk-Teodorovych won the chess championship of On
Again in 1955 the Senior soccer team of UKRAINA captured its third consecutive championship of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE. But, unfortunately, this triumph was to be the team’s “swan song”, as the team’s stars became older and burdened by family and business concerns.
In 1956, the combined youth teams of UKRAINA and SUM captured both the championship and the “Globe and Mail” and “Toronto Telegram” Cups. In the final game, which was played on October 21, 1956, the team defeated the TORONTO TRYZUB by a score of 3:0. The “Globe and Mail” trophy was presented to the UKRAINA team by the President of the National Soccer League, Mr. Ed Woring.
In 1957 D. Kulyk, who was a member of the Club’s chess team, captured the championship and the “Backley” Cup. During the tournament he played to a draw against the well known master Dr. Winterton.
In that year’s World Cup Soccer qualifying competition between Canada and Mexico, the following players of the UKRAINA team were included on the Canadian team: O. Steckiw, W. Zakaluzhny and M. Bereza. These same playes represented the Canadian team in its victory of 3:2 against the U.S.A. The UKRAINA players were the key figures in this victory. Zakaluzhny and Bereza being the most dangerous attackers, and Steckiw billed the “field general” of the Canadian team.
In 1958, the Club’s basketball team captured first place in its division, and with it the Toronto championship.
The men’s volleyball team won all of its games without losing any sets, and advanced from the B to the A group.
One of the biggest attractions of 1958 was the exhibition soccer match between Toronto UKRAINA and “ADMIRA” FC VIENNA (Austria), which the Austrian team won by a score of 3:0. Some comments by the visiting team about UKRAINA’s performance: Zeyk, the Captain: “A very good, fair game.” Habizl: “UKRAINA is a very good and fair team.” Oleos, the Goalkeeper: “The best team we played on our tour.”
In 1959, the youth team of the Club again finished first in its division for the year.
In 1960, Ivan Teodorovych-Suk representing the Club, captured first place in individual competitions in the Ontario chess championship, winning over twenty-eight other players. In an international two-day tournament involving 22 players, Mr. Teodorovych also captured the invitational tournament title by winning with six one-half points over the Hungarian, Foesster (6 pts.), the Lithuanian, Vaytonis (6 pts.), the German, Drake (6 pts.) and the English entry, Kebell (5 pts.).
In 1960 the women’s volleyball team of the Club won the championship of the “Ukrainian Sports’ Association of Canada and the U.S.A.” (USCAK).
The men’s volleyball team won first place in its division in 1961 and was promoted to the highest division of the Ontario Volleyball Association.
The first soccer team of UKRAINA captured the “Labatts Cup”, by winning the 1961 play-off of the National Soccer League.
Both the men’s and the women’s volleyball teams captured the championship of the “Ukrainian Sports’ Association of Canada and the U.S.A.” (USCAK) in 1962.
In 1963, the senior soccer team of the Club again won the play-offs of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE and the “O’Keefe Cup”, while the women’s volleyball team once again captured the championship of USCAK.
After a nine-year lull, the senior soccer team won the 1964 championship of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE as well as the play-offs, and thereby became a “Double-champion”, winning both cups in the same year.
In 1964, the junior team won the cup sponsored by the professional league and the championship of Toronto.
In that year, the women’s volleyball team won, for the third consecutive time, the USCAK championship. Also in 1964, Mr. B. Nazarko won first place in the “Chess Club” tournament, with brilliant victories.
In 1965, the youth soccer team of the Club won the “Etobicoke Guardian” Cup, while the young chess player, Roman Turkevych, won an international chess tournament, winning thirteen out of fourteen games played.
In 1966, Bill Boytchuk, the former President of Toronto UKRAINA, was re-elected as President of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE, for the fourth consecutive time, and Ostap Wynnyckyj, a member of the Club, was elected as Vice-President of the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE.
In that year, both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams of the Club again won the championship of the “Ukrainian Sports’ Association of Canada and the U.S.A.” (USCAK).
The men’s volleyball team repeated this victory in 1967.
1968 was to be the most critical year for the UKRAINA Sports’ Association. In an attempt to maintain the high level of performance of the senior soccer team in the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE, the previous executives of the Club had enlisted foreign players for great sums of money, which brought the Club to a state of near bankruptcy.
Having left the former club house, and searching for a new home, the Club faced its largest task. The annual meeting was held at the Ukrainian People’s Home, and the Club was faced with possible dissolution. At this critical moment of the Club’s existence, former players and enthusiasts came to the rescue. O. Steckiw, W. Zakaluzhny, L. Dyczkowsky, W. Lesiuk, A. Horsky, M. Shmotolochka, S. Harhay, D. Kulyk, D. Melnyk and N. Bundza began the new “era” of the Club.
On May 31, 1969, they began the task of rebuilding the Club by acquiring a new building for the club. The high mortgage costs, as well as costs involved in keeping a team in the NATIONAL SOCCER LEAGUE, prevented the Club from maintaining the previous high participation level in overall sports’ activities. Nevertheless, the main goals were fulfilled, and the Club continued to exist and participate in other fields of sports’ activities.
Won the Canadian men’s volleyball championship in 1975
Ukraina’s junior soccer team participated in the international tournament in Texas, U.S.A.
In 1983, the 35th anniversary year of the Club, the Club operated two soccer teams, a men’s and women’s volleyball team and a baseball team. The club’s chess section was also very active.
The men’s volleyball team also captured the championship of the “A” division, thereby advancing to the top Double “AA” league. The team also won the USCAK volleyball championship.
In a highly successful USCAK chess tournament sponsored by the club, UKRAINA chess players captured first, second and third place, The club’s bantam soccer team won a USCAK soccer tournament in New York.
The Association celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1998.
Played in the Downsview Park Adult Soccer League