When Westinghouse won the Canadian Soccer Championship in 1928, little did the Hamilton community realize it would be 66 years before another local team would duplicate that feat. In 1986 it was the Hamilton Steelers that did it by beating Vancouver Croatia in the final by 1-0.
The final was played on October 13, in Sherbrooke Quebec’s Rock Forest Park, a sub-par field. Refusing to bow to the conditions, inclement weather and a Vancouver Croatia team that had won the Challenge Cup the past 2 years, The Hamilton Steelers won the final in a heart-stopping fashion with Billy Johnston scoring the only goal of the game, in the final minutes of regulation time, on a cutback from Larry Pretto. The Steelers starting 11 that day included Bryan Rosenfeld in goal. The back four were Billy Johnson, Gary Morrow, John Di Pasquale and Steve Hill. The midfield consisted of Lucio Ianiero, Kevin Keenan, Louis Nagy and Gamal el Shaarawi and the strikers were Larry Pretto and Alastair Love. Completing the team were Gary Hay, Colin Samuels, David Tennant and Lino Tomasetti. The team was guided by coach Kevin Grant, managed by Mauro Di Pietro, equipment manager Al Yeagin, Vice President was Frank Riga and President and owner was Mario Di Bartolomeo.
In order to get to the Canadian final, the Steelers had to win the Ontario Cup by beating Dundas United. En route to the National Championship they defeated Dollard des Ormeaux from Quebec 1-0 on goals by Colin Samuels. The Steelers rose to the occasion in the next game against Edmonton Italo Canadians by winning 2-1 in what was considered the best game of the tournament on goals by Larry Pretto and Gamal El Shaarawi.
The Steelers capped the undefeated season by also winning the OICSL Championship and Challenge Cup (playoffs). But most of all they will be remembered as they held the Canadian Soccer Air Canada Challenge Cup high in the air.