When the McGill Redmen and University of Toronto Varsity Blues meet in the Baggataway Cup quarterfinals Friday at 7 pm, it will be the first time the teams have played in seven years. That definitely does not mean the teams don't have history, individually and between them.
The Redmen and Blues have played at least 15 times since McGill joined CUFLA in 2002. Both teams have history that predates the series between them, though, that goes back not years and not even decades, but centuries.
McGill established a men's lacrosse club in 1873. While Toronto didn't get its club started until perhaps a decade and a half later, the Blues enjoyed some notable success in their early days. Before the calendar would flip over to the 20thcentury, the University of Toronto Lacrosse Team would become the “Inter-College Champions of America”, winning that title in 1897. Ten years later, Toronto would follow that title up with another American intercollegiate championship.?
The more recent history between the teams has tilted decidedly in McGill's favour. The Blues won six straight games against the Redmen from 2003 through an 11-5 decision in 2006 behind a hat trick by Scott Lemke and six points from Beau Bassett.
The Redmen turned the tide in the opening round of the Baggataway Cup playoffs in 2007, dumping Toronto 17-9. Luke LaCava led McGill that day with four goals and four assists while Greg Henry and Elias Mason added three goals and an assist each.
The teams met regularly over the next four years and McGill had Toronto's number, winning eight more games in a row from 2008-2011, while both teams were in CUFLA East. With the Blues moving to the West division when Concordia joined CUFLA in 2012, Toronto and McGill have not met since.
Tickets are available for Friday's game through the host U of T or you can watch the live stream on Lacrosse TV.
Thanks to McGill Sports Information Director Earl Zukerman, who does a remarkable job covering the Redmen, for uncovering much of the historical information and to Varsity Blues coach Joe Nizich for sharing the photo of the early championship team.