1992 Winnipeg Fury Soccer Team Roster:
John Berti, Tony Capasso, Ian Carter, Carlo Corazzin, Mike Dodd, Paul Fenwick, John Gasparac, Kevin Holness, Constantin Ignat, Kent Kowalski, Michael MacKay, Laurie McIvor, Tom McManus, Steve Millar, Tony Nocita, Gerald Olin, Pat Onstad, Marcello Paolucci, Peter Sarantopoulos, Dr. Andy Taylor, Scott Thorpe, Mary Turner, Phil Wilson.
On a fabulous fall day in 1992, a collection of determined local and out-of-province players that were the Winnipeg Fury professional men's soccer team became the first Manitoba team and the last team ever to win the Canadian Soccer League championship and the Mita Cup.
Coming into the league's final two-game series as heavy underdogs, the Winnipeg Fury unseated the four-time champion Vancouver 86ers which were loaded with national team players.
The Fury beat Vancouver 2-0 in the first game in Winnipeg on Sept. 27, 1992 and then turned Vancouver's Swangard Stadium on end with a 1-1 tie on Oct. 4, 1992 to win the title in combined score format. Team captain Steve Millar scored the goal that won it for the Fury in the final game.
"To get the result we needed, in Swangard, it was spectacular, considering the odds against us," said Gerald Olin, the Fury assistant general manager at the time. "To see the complete turnaround and for our guys to be able to overcome those odds, it was unbelievable."
In the seven-year history of the CSL, the Winnipeg Fury had lost every game it played in Vancouver leading up to that final game. Olin recalled that earlier in that season, the Fury had lost 5-0 and 6-0 to the 86ers in Vancouver.
The Fury were led by former Team Canada player and local veteran Tony Nocita, local young player Marcello Paolucci and what was considered a stock of young, unproven players. Many of these young players ended up being the next national team players who went on to play in Europe such as Pat Onstad, Carlo Corrazzin, Paul Fenwick and Ian Carter.
Olin pointed to several developments that led to the Fury's historic performance. Nocita, who had played for the Fury in previous seasons, was selected by the Fury along with Fenwick in a dispersal draft when the Hamilton team folded. The Fury also acquired Carter and Peter Sarantopoulos from North York.
"On the trade deadline, Laurie (GM McIvor) and I were watching the fax machine and at exactly 5 p.m., the fax came in that our deal for (all-star goalkeeper) Pat Onstad came through. That was the last piece we needed to take it to the next level," Olin said.
The CSL folded after the 1992 season with teams and players dispersing among a couple of other leagues. The Fury played its final season in 1993 in the semi-professional Canadian National Soccer League, based in Ontario, with a different lineup.
"We embarked on something really special with this group and the only sad part about it was, that if the (CSL) league would have been able to continue on, the Fury may well have become the next league dynasty because there was such good talent there," Olin said.
The Mita Cup stayed with the Winnipeg Fury as the last team to win it. The Fury and the Mita Cup are now honoured members of Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.