On Labour Day of 1954, the first football game for the newly established Northern Ontario Rugby Football Union (N.O.R.F.U.) was held at Queen's Athletic Field with 3,000 fans looking on. North Bay won the encounter with Sudbury by two points, but Sudbury came back to complete the regular season with no other losses.
The league championships of 1954 were held between Sudbury and North Bay. The two teams competed for the coveted Donald Plaunt Memorial Trophy (a trophy donated by W.B. Plaunt in memory of his brother who died in World War II). Sudbury succeeded in winning the Plaunt Trophy and the first championship of the newly created league.
In 1955, N.O.R.F.U. joined with the Ontario Rugby Football Union and competed for the first time on a provincial level against the Port Colborne Lakers in Port Colborne. While the Sudbury Hardrocks were unable to secure a victory, the N.O.R.F.U. league was very proud of itself as it had managed to succeed in building a senior football league where previous attempts had failed.
Throughout the late 1950's and the 1960's, amateur football continued to thrive in the north. Players for teams were still recruited in the immediate area and funding for the clubs was raised through various enterprises by club executives and players (sponsorship was not given at this time).
N.O.R.F.U. experienced great success during this period as the league expanded to include Sturgeon Falls, Val d'Or, and Timmins.