Ticats mark 150 years of Hamilton football history this season
Franchise started above a downtown fruit store, team says
The Tiger-Cats are celebrating 150 years of Hamilton football this year — starting at their preseason game Thursday night.
This city has "one of the oldest traditions of football of any city in the country," says the Ti-Cats website. The Hamilton Football Club began on November 3, 1869, it says, in a room above George Lee's Fruit Store downtown.
The team played its first game almost 150 years ago, on December 18, 1869. Their first match was against the 13th Battalion, now known as the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry.
In 1872, the club began playing at the Hamilton AAA Grounds, and three years later they became known as the Tigers.
For the 150 days leading up to the November 3rd anniversary, the Ti-Cats will post archival moments and stories online, and show anniversary videos at halftime.
150 years of football excellence, iconic moments & fan traditions.<br><br>Celebrate with us this season, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a>!<a href="https://twitter.com/weathertechca?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@weathertechca</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ticats?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Ticats</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CFL</a> <a href="https://t.co/WRkXSkbkIh">pic.twitter.com/WRkXSkbkIh</a>—@Ticats
'20 years older' than oldest NFL team
There were two football teams in the city between most of 1900 to 1950, the website says — the Hamilton Tigers and a string of teams that ended in the Hamilton Wildcats. But when the teams merged in 1950, the Tiger-Cats were born.
Hamilton's team is "one of the oldest continuing professional sports franchises in any sport on any continent," the team said in a press release.
"It means the Tiger-Cats are the oldest gridiron football team anywhere – more than 20 years older than the oldest team in the National Football League in the United States."
"The business has evolved from a true start-up above a grocery store to today's established national brand," said Bob Young, caretaker of the Tiger-Cats, in a press release.
"The game has evolved from an exclusively running and blocking game to today's wildly entertaining and highly sophisticated run and shoot offenses."
To recognize the milestone, the Ticats also have a 150th anniversary logo, which will be on merchandise and giveaways.
The team will give away commemorative coins during Thursday's game against the Toronto Argonauts.
The game starts at 7:30 p.m. at Tim Hortons Field.