1992 – 2007

On the eve of the Conference’s 40th Anniversary, member clubs of the province’s lone intermediate caliber league, the Central Ontario Football League, approached the Northern Football Conference to merge leagues. After considerable negotiations the intermediate league disbanded and two of its members, the North York Eagles, who entered as the Toronto Eagles and the Scarborough Crimson Tide, joined the Northern Football Conference thus stabilizing the Conference at six members. The stability was only slightly damaged as Scarborough ceased operations after the 1994 season but was replaced by the Hamilton Wild Cats, who had competed in the American Football Association, in 1995.

By 1995 the Northern Football Conference established itself as a very strong and vibrant football league. At the end of the year the Ontario Amateur Football community recognized Sid Forster, long time administrator and coach with the Sudbury Spartans as Builder of the Year, Tony Molnar, long time coach with the Oakville Longhorns, as Coach of the Year, and Jack Leitch, Conference Referee-in-Chief, as Official of the Year. The recognition of the talent that works for the Northern Football Conference and the reputation that the league has established as a leader in community football programs had placed the Northern Football Conference at the forefront of amateur football in Ontario.

The euphoria of the 1995 season was short lived. The Brampton Bears withdrew from the league before the 1996 season to compete in the newly formed midget developmental league but were replaced by the Sault Ste. Marie Storm, who had competed in the Ontario Junior Football Conference. The North Bay Bulldogs took a leave of absence from the league for the 1996 season and the Hamilton Wild Cats ceased operations after the second week of the season leaving the Northern Football Conference with four teams for the 1996 season. Only one year after the memorable 1995 season the league and senior football was seen to be struggling.

As always the Northern Football Conference rebounded. The 1997 season saw the Conference returned to six teams with return of the Peterborough Packers and the entrance, yet mysterious departure of the North Bay Bulldogs. Add this and many other centres had expressed interest in participating in senior football. The league was looking forward again!

The N.F.C. went from the six teams back to four. The 1999 campaign had the Peterborough Packers cease operations before the season with no replacement yet found, the Packers left to compete in the New York State Empire League.

Despite the chaos of the 1990s in the Northern Football Conference one team has set the standard of play. The Oakville Longhorns have held the Plaunt Memorial Trophy Championship since 1993. The Longhorns, and other league teams, have also dominated play in inter-conference games against American minor league teams proving that the play of the Northern Football Conference is very high.

In 2000 the NFC joined forces with the Alberta Football League for a National Championship from Canadian Senior Football League (changed to Canadian Major Football League in 2003). The Oakville Longhorns have represented the NFC for this championship and have emerged winners all three times. With the National Championship Site alternating every year, the NFC had the honour in 2005 to host the championship at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.

In January of 2006, at the League Annual General Meeting in Sudbury, the Sarnia Imperials were welcomed to the fold. The Imperials have a rich football tradition in the Sarnia area that includes winning the Grey Cup in its early days in 1933.

In early May of 2007, the Sudbury Spartans coach and players decided that there was not enough players to play the 2007 season. So the Spartans took a leave of absence. This is the first time in 36 years that the team from Sudbury will not take to the field. The first being 1961.

The Northern Football Conference will enter 2007 still with a strong field of 10 teams; the Milton Marauders, North Bay Bulldogs, Oakville Longhorns, Oshawa Hawkeyes, Quinte-Limestone Panthers, Sault Ste. Marie Steelers, Sarnia Imperials, Toronto Raiders, Toronto Maddogs and Tri City Outlaws and an exciting summer schedule. Its status is intact as the oldest senior amateur football league in Canada and a reputation as a leader for football in Ontario and Canada.