1964 – 1972

The growth of the Northern Ontario Rugby-Football Union continued over the next nine years but the league saw many changes. In 1967 the Northern Ontario Rugby-Football Union changed its name to the Northern Football Conference. The name change was to coincide with the year in which the parent Canadian Rugby Union renamed itself to the Canadian Football League and designed to follow the lead established by the professional leagues a few years earlier. Along with the new name came a new league logo.

The number of members in the league remained relatively stable during this period but there was much change among the membership. Sudbury, North Bay and Kirkland Lake remained constant throughout most of this period although the Sudbury team renamed itself the Spartans in 1967 to coincide with the league’s name change and the Kirkland Lake team changed its name to Kougars in 1968 before folding after the 1971 season. Sturgeon Falls Bombers were forced to take a leave of absence following the 1963 season but returned for four more seasons before ultimately folding in 1968. The Rouyn-Noranda club returned for one more season of play in 1965 but ceased operations thereafter. There were a number of new teams entering the league during this period. Val D’Or, another western Quebec community, entered a team in the league in 1965 and remained until 1970 but took a leave of absence in 1969. Timmins Falcons entered in 1966 and remained until 1971 but took a leave of absence for the 1970 season. The 1972 season saw two new entrants to the Northern Football Conference. Sault Ste. Marie Steelers, which took over the Timmins operation and Laurentian University, which purchased much of the Kirkland Lake assets and needed a place to compete after leaving the O.U.A.A. Both commenced operation in 1972.

Despite all the changes in teams during this time the dominant teams remained the more stable clubs. Sudbury captured five Plaunt Memorial Trophies and North Bay won three. The only other team to win a Conference title during this period was the first year Sault Ste. Marie Steelers in 1972.

Other changes saw the Clubs progressing to competition at the senior level, dating from 1966. Northern Football Conference teams fared very well in the senior competition twice reaching the Canadian Finals in the last years of the 1960s. By 1970 only two senior leagues remained in contention for the national title of Canada, the Northern Football Conference and the Ontario Rugby-Football Union, later the Ontario Football Conference. The two league champions faced each other on three occasions in the early 1970s. The only title earned by an N.F.C. unit was the Sault Ste. Marie Steelers 26-7 victory over the London Lords for the Ontario Senior title in 1972.

In terms of recognition in the community the league began naming an all-Conference team and a Coach of the Year in 1971. Like all other awards, the Coaches and Players also selected these.