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Date(s) of occurrence:1876- 1933, 1969- ?

Previous/other names: UNB Ironmen

History: The first recorded ‘football’ match was held between UNB and Fredericton High School, on 10 October 1876. By 1882 Football was one of the students’ primary activities. Up until 1981, UNB had been playing “Gaelic Football” which is a mixture of soccer, rugby, and gridiron (American) football. After this period, Rugby took over, however, it was still (mostly) referred to as football. UNB first entered an intercollegiate match in 1891, playing against Mount Alison University (Mt. A.). The meetings between Mt. A. and UNB became annual, and a healthy rivalry was formed. The rugby seasons were spent playing exhibition and invitation games, as no league was formed until 1903. During this time UNB made a reputation as a strong team to compete against, and when the NB Intercollegiate Championship final games were played, UNB became the champion. In 1911 UNB hired its first Rugby coach, “Baby” Church. The effects of the First World War resulted in intercollegiate matches being under ban from 1916 to 1919. This ban occurred again in the Second World War, beginning in 1941. In 1942 the Maritime Intercollegiate Athletics Union decided that the ban on rugby matches would be lifted under the conditions that Nova Scotia and New Brunswick keep separate leagues, and not play the Maritime Final due to travel costs. The ban on all intercollegiate sports was lifted in 1946, and by 1947 UNB had two teams, Senior and Junior Varsity. In 1951 with the introduction of Canadian Football to the campus, this version of “football” or “rugby” became known as English Rugby. By 1933 interest had swayed so that Rugby was not deemed an official sport, and was not sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Association; however, Rugby returns to the yearbook in 1969, and the team is known as the UNB Ironmen by 1972.



  • University Monthly, vol 1, no. 1
  • University Monthly, vol 2, no. 7
  • University Monthly, vol 5 no. 2
  • Universty Monthly, vol 7, no. 2
  • University Monthly, vol 11, no. 2
  • University Monthly, vol 13, no. 2
  • University Monthly, vol 21, no.1
  • University Monthly, vol 23, no. 5
  • University Monthly, vol 31, no. 2
  • University Monthly, vol 36, no. 1
  • University Monthly, vol 37, no. 1
  • the Brunswickan, vol 60, no. 4
  • the Brunswickan, vol 66, no. ?
  • Up the Hill, 1938
  • Up the Hill, 1942
  • Up the Hill, 1947
  • Up the Hill, 1951
  • Up the Hill, 1953
  • Up the Hill, 1969
  • Up the Hill, 1972

© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014