Builder - Steve Stavro

Born: Gavro, Macedonia, Greece, 1927.Steve Stavro

Mr. Stavro came to Canada at the age of seven and as a child worked in his fathers grocery store. Later in life he opened his own grocery store on Danforth Avenue, eventually expanding it into a chain of food terminals across the city known as Knob Hill Farms. His first experience with competitive organized soccer was playing centre forward for the Duke of Connaught Public School in Toronto in the late 1930s. The team went on to become Toronto District Champions. A devout soccer fan since his youth he was recently honoured as a life member of the Canadian Soccer Association. Over the years he was involved in the organization and management of the Continental Soccer League in 1959, the International Soccer League in 1960, the Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League in late 1960, the United Soccer Association in 1966 and the North American Soccer League in 1968.

In 1961, along with industrialist Larry Myslivec and journalist Ed Fitken, Stavro formed the Toronto City Soccer Club which played in the newly created Eastern Canada Professional Soccer League, becoming president of the club. In that first season the team signed well known British stars Stanley Matthews, Danny Blanchflower, Jackie Mudie and Johnny Haynes, while the player-coach was formed Scottish international Tommy Younger. He continued to operate the team until January of 1966 when he withdrew the team after the league refused to order the amalgamation of the three Toronto teams. In 1966 he helped to form the United Soccer Association (USA) with teams from coast to coast across the United States and Canada. Each team in the league in that first season was represented by a well known overseas club, with Toronto City being represented by the famous Scottish team Hibernian. In December of that year the USA merged with the rival National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) to form the North American Soccer League. Later in 1967 Mr. Stavro made the decision to sell his professional rights in the NASL to fellow Torontonian Joe Peters who owned the Toronto Falcons. However, he continued his involvement with soccer by staging international exhibition games at the old Toronto Maple Leaf baseball stadium, Exhibition Stadium and Varsity Stadium. Those games involved such famous teams as Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Olympiakos, Glasgow Celtic and A.C. Milan. In more recent years he turned his attention to hockey and in 1991 became chairman of the board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., a governor of the National Hockey League and chairman of the board of the Air Canada Centre. He remains president of Knob Hill Farms Limited.