Along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, now Memphis Grizzlies, The Toronto Raptors were founded in 1995 when the NBA expanded into Canada as part of their goal for total worldwide domination. The only other market the NBA considered in Ontario was Punkeydoodles Corners, yes, that’s a real town. An NBA executive explained, “The team name was going to be the Punkeydoodles Corners Doodleheads, but they couldn’t fit it on the jerseys, so we went with Toronto.”
Right around this time that the NBA was expanding into Canada, the Canadian Football League was busy expanding into America. The first team was the Sacramento Gold Miners, which was largely made up of the former Sacramento Surge, a team with the defunct World League of American Football. The league failed partly because the games were played in spring, and Americans don’t think of football in spring. They think of baseball, golf, and sucking in their gut at the beach for the next 6 months instead of actually exercising.
The Raptors originally played at the SkyDome, well-known for its motorized, retractable roof. The roof worked well until that one year it broke and it snowed on the court for the entire first half of the game. An arena spokesperson said, “It was the first time we brought out the Zamboni for a basketball game.”