Bay Street Sports: Everyone’s a winner

Bay Street lawyers get athletic
Bay Street lawyers get athletic

Bay Street lawyers aren’t just serious about basketball. Hockey and football leagues have former pros and semi-pros playing and working for local firms, too. We scouted for evidence of fierce competition, but to our surprise, there was little to be found. It seems people may actually play for fun (or what happens on the field, stays on the field). Here’s the scoop on Bay Street’s less-competitive sports.

Profile: A league of about 10 teams of lawyers practice on Sundays beginning in September at various parks around Toronto with an annual championship in November.

Who can play: Most firms stick together with lawyers, students, and paralegals playing for their particular LLP, but stray lawyers from other firms are allowed to join. There is also a team of criminal defence lawyers named “The Young Offenders.”

Level of Competition: This is co-ed, not particularly competitive, touch football. Osler team member Allan Coleman (who did not play any varsity sports in university and does not consider himself athletic) explains: “The bar isn’t set that high, even for out-of-shape guys like me.” However, according to BLG team member Jonathan Dyck, “It’s very competitive.” In 2006, BLG’s team included two lawyers who used to play pro in Europe. Does BLG look for ringers when recruiting? “Not officially,” Dyck says.

Winners: BLG has won the past two years. Other winning teams include Torys, Gibson, and Osler. The tournament trophy has been around since the early ‘70s.

Profile: Eight teams of lawyers participate in an annual tournament in April.

Who can play:  Firm employees only. However, if you don’t have a  goalie, subs are okay (as long as they aren’t too good).

Level of Competition: This is a co-ed, no-contact, no-slapshots tournament. Organizer Aaron Fransen of Stikeman claims he can’t even remember who won last year. Hard to believe given the high calibre of players on the Stikes team. Fransen himself spent three years in the OHL. Colleague Mike Burkett was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars prior to working on Bay Street, and another colleague, Dan Ratushny, won silver at the Albertville Winter Olympics. Still, Fransen insists, “It’s really just a good time for everyone.”

Winners: Apparently, no one is sure who won last year. The official championship trophy (see above) dates back to 1984, but it’s been neglected as of late. The last plaque honours a Torys’ win from 2005. If you’re looking for the cup, it has somehow come to rest in the office of Fasken team member Ian Campbell. As default guardian of the prize, we bestow upon Ian the heavy burden of reviving the tradition for 2008.