The history of contact for games between The District of Nipissing and Renfrew County Teams post Second World War, started in 1961.
There was a four team U20 league that included one Deep River team and three North Bay teams. The Rapides Club from North Bay won the league and Deep River won the play-off final. As a note, there were two future Presidents of the OSA on the Rapides team.
In 1962, the league increased to five teams with two teams from Deep River. Unfortunately most players on these teams moved onto senior men’s teams and with the North Bay Youth League collapsing, the league folded prior to the 1963 season. There then was a hiatus of many years before contact was made again.
The impetus for the future development of SNE began in 1971 with the formation of the Northern Ontario Soccer Council (NOSC).
This was a voluntary organization whose aim was to develop the game within N. Eastern Ontario and to start and administer competitions for at first youth teams in N. Ontario and then eventually adult teams which were then all male. The original NOSC members were Saulte Ste Marie, Elliott Lake, Sudbury and North Bay. All were at that time individual District Soccer Association and members of the OSA.
In 1972, only Sudbury rejoined the OSA and the other three Districts rejoined in 1973 after a one year absence . The NOSC developed two competitions. First was a select team tournament for different age groups from each city. This was run in July and was held in Sudbury as it was the most central community. The second competition and the most popular was the league winners championship. At the end of each season, the league winners of each age group met to produce a Northern Ontario Champion.
First Tri Town (now Temiskaming Shores) had joined NOSC so a semi final between North Bay and Tri Town was held and a small tournament between Saulte Ste Marie, Elliott Lake and Sudbury was held to produce a team to play in the final which was held the weekend following the “semi finals.” The final games were alternated each year between east and west communities. Senior men’s competitions were added in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s, contact was made by the North Bay President with communities in the Ottawa Valley to see if their youth teams might want to join the NOSC Competitions.
The general view was positive as these competitions were seen as not an alternative to the OSA Ontario Cup, but as a competition that their teams stood a chance of competing in and possibly winning. The competitions expanded to include Deep River, Petawawa and Pembroke. After the addition of girls and women’s soccer, these groups also began to play in their own competitions. These contacts led to meetings and eventually in the middle 1980s a request to the OSA and EODSA to change the boundary of the North Bay and District SA to include Renfrew County was made and the OSA Board agreed. The District’s name was changed to Soccer North Eastern Ontario and SNE’s office was located in North Bay.
At the time of this change, the OSA was also restructuring and decided to have each DA represented on its Board of Directors. In order to do this, the OSA needed to amalgamate a large number of small District Associations into larger and fewer DA. This ended up with Tri Town (Temiskaming Shores) being added to Soccer Northeastern Ontario and Elliott Lake being added to Saulte Ste Marie (Sault Amateur SA).
The competitions continued to take place until some clubs within the districts withdrew from the league winners tournaments because each team then playing was a recreational team and Pembroke was found to be sending a select team to the league winners tournament and would not send a non select team. Because the competitions ended, the NOSC ceased to exist.
In the 1990s, Timmins, Hearst, Cochrane and Kapuskasing players started to register with the OSA and because there was no District Association in their geographical area, the OSA made them choose between registering with SNE or Sudbury Regional. They chose SNE. This led to having the situation where as an OSA Executive member said, “We now have a District Association 1600 km long and a highway wide.” The SNE Office was still in North Bay and the problems of registering players, district discipline etc was nearly impossible before the age of e-mail and faxes. Eventually an OSA Executive member was appointed, at his request to meet with Districts in the north to discuss a number of northern issues. One of which was District Boundaries. The end result on the District Boundary issue, accepted by the OSA was to split SNE into two DA. Clubs in the District of Nipissing and Renfrew County would stay as SNE and a new DA, Soccer North would be formed which included Temiskaming Shores, Timmins, Hearst, Cochrane and Kapuskasing. With this change in place,
at a SNE AGM, the member clubs voted to move the district office to Pembroke since there were more clubs in the Ottawa Valley than in the District of Nipissing. That is the situation today.
Past President SNE.