Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

HISTORY OF THE OCAA

For over 50 seasons the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association has been dedicated to being a leader in amateur athletics in the development of sport, fitness and recreational opportunities at the collegiate level.

Founded on June 9, 1967, 49 varsity teams competed in eight OCAA-sanctioned sports in its inaugural season. By 1971, the OCAA was an athletic conference with 30 members. The largest percentage of growth in participation occurred in 1982-83 when the OCAA initiated a tiered system in some of its league sports. This system enabled colleges to participate and develop within a league structure.

Nineteen seventy-one also brought about the beginning of inter-provincial competitions, with Ontario and Quebec schools squaring off in seven sports. Later in the decade, East met West as the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) was founded.

In 1983, the OCAA hosted national championships in Toronto and North Bay where more than 700 athletes competed in six events. Today, members of the OCAA remain active in hosting various national championships on behalf of the CCAA. Three OCAA member institutions will once again welcome student-athletes from across the nation during the 2019-20 season as Durham College hosts the 2019 CCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship, the University of Toronto Mississauga hosts the 2020 CCAA Badminton National Championships, and Humber College hosts the 2020 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.

In May, 1984, in response to the need to enhance women’s programs offered in the OCAA the Association, with Seneca College’s Bonnie Bacvar as Chairperson, established the Women’s Sport Development Committee. During its mandate, this committee undertook a number of innovative projects promoting OCAA women’s sports to secondary students and launched an ongoing professional development seminar for administrators and coaches for women’s athletic programs. In 1993-94, the Committee was honoured with a national award from the CCAA in recognition of its leadership and innovation.

The OCAA’s growth and development has not been limited solely to membership and varsity success. In an effort to increase activity and healthy living within the student population, the OCAA and the Ontario Colleges Committee on Campus Recreation (predecessor to Ontario Collegiate Recreation) developed the Active Living Challenge. This program was created to enable a greater portion of the student body to receive the health benefits which recreational and competitive activity can provide.

Today, the OCAA has 27 members with the most-recent addition being the University of Toronto Mississauga in May, 2014. OCAA members currently compete in 10 league and five tournament sports. In 10 of these, OCAA champions go on to compete nationally at CCAA championships.

A standard of excellence has been set by various OCAA programs at both the provincial and national levels. OCAA student-athletes medaled at nine of the 10 CCAA championships in 2018-19, including the Fanshawe Falcons winning their first-ever men’s volleyball national title. The Humber Hawks men’s soccer team claimed their fifth CCAA championship in seven seasons, while the Fanshawe women’s and St. Clair Saints men’s cross country teams also won national banners.

OCAA teams claimed multiple medals at two league sport championships, including the Sheridan Bruins winning bronze in men’s soccer (in addition to Humber’s national title) and the Sheridan and Humber men’s basketball teams earning silver and bronze, respectively.  Fanshawe was awarded the bronze medal in women’s volleyball, while a pair of Humber men’s programs, in golf and curling, were awarded silver medals.

Individually in golf, Humber’s Conner Watt won the CCAA men’s silver medal, while Fanshawe’s Alyssa Stoddart won women’s bronze. OCAA continues to be strong in national badminton, where Humber student-athletes Victoria Duong and Chloe Rowe won the national medal in women’s doubles, and Ramnish Kumar won the national title in men’s singles. CCAA silver medals went to George Brown College’s Ann Hoang in women’s singles, and Angeline Alviar and Mike Ra in mixed doubles. Six OCAA athletes earned bronze medals, including Humber’s Arpit Taneja and Ayubu Touray in men’s doubles, Fanshawe’s Helen Ngu and Han Pham in women’s doubles, and Centennial College’s Dave Chirag and Jia Yi Feng in mixed doubles.

OCAA student-athletes and coaches were honoured at the national level as well, with two national player of the year awards, including Fanshawe’s Jade Kovacevic in women’s soccer and Janelle Albert in women’s volleyball. Coach of the Year awards went to Fanshawe’s Colin Robertson in golf, Toronto Mississauga’s Lam Trinh in badminton and Fanshawe’s Barry Westman in women’s curling.

Other notable accomplishments in OCAA history include the Humber College men’s basketball team earning three consecutive national championships (1991 to 1993); the Humber College women’s volleyball team (2008 to 2018) surpassing Seneca College’s record for consecutive provincial championships (1990 to 1996) with 11; the Sheridan College men’s volleyball team for their unprecedented six consecutive gold medals at OCAA championships (1989 to 1994); the Algonquin College men’s soccer team winning six straight OCAA titles (2004 to 2009); and in 1997, Durham College and Humber College advancing to the first all-Ontario final at the CCAA national men’s basketball championship, a feat repeated again in 2001 when Humber College and Sheridan College met for the national crown.

In 2003, the OCAA enhanced its lifetime of tradition with the formation of its Hall of Fame. The OCAA Hall of Fame recognizes the accomplishments of the athletes, coaches and builders who have made positive contributions to the association. On April 30, 2003 in Toronto, 265 people attended the inaugural induction ceremony to pay tribute to the first 103 inductees and celebrate the OCAA’s rich history. The ninth induction ceremony took place on May 8, 2019 in Toronto as the OCAA Hall of Fame expanded to 421 members. The members of the Hall of Fame and their achievements are highlighted on the OCAA Hall of Fame website, which can be viewed at www.OCAA.com/HallofFame.