What came before the Raptors? The Huskies.

Opening Game

Before the inception of the Raptors in 1995, Toronto once boasted another professional basketball team.

Turn back your clocks to 1946. The United Nations had their first meeting, an organization called UNICEF was founded, the Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas, and the Toronto Huskies were born in the Basketball Association of America (BAA).

Playing from the famed Maple Leaf Gardens and wearing the blue and white, the Huskies lost their first official game to the New York Knickerbockers 68-66. It was a spirited game, although much different from the high-flying NBA action fans are accustomed to today. That particular game was played without the 24-second shot clock and the 3-point line. In fact, the jump-shot was discouraged as coaches barked at their players to keep their feet on the ground during shots.

Toronto spent a considerable amount of time and money to promote the game, running newspaper ads with a picture of their tallest player, 6-8 George Nostrand, and offering free admission to any spectator taller than Nostrand. As for the ticket prices? They ranged from 75 cents to $2.50.

The first quarter was a quick exchange of running and easy baskets. New York led the game into the 2nd quarter with a score of 33-18, but Toronto’s 6-5, 240 pound player-coach Ed Sadowski, rallied the team and cut the lead to 37-29 by the half.

Three minutes into the 3rd quarter, Sadowski committed his 5th personal foul and subsequently fouled out in accordance to league rules. Big man Nostrand came into the game to replace Sadowski and lit up the scoreboard, helping Toronto take their first lead at 44-43.

The Huskies were able to extend their lead before the Knicks rallied back in the 4th quarter with a field goal and a free throw to seal the game.

The Toronto Huskies went on to finish the season with a record of 22-38 and the franchise folded, never to see their second year in the league. The Basketball Association of America later merged with the National Basketball League to become what is now known as the National Basketball Association.

To view the roster and player statistics for the Toronto Huskies, you can click here.