The Canisius College Golden Griffins are composed of 16 teams representing Canisius College in intercollegiate athletics.These teams include men's and women's basketball, cross country, track, lacrosse, soccer, and swimming and diving. Men's sports include baseball, ice hockey, and golf. Women's sports include volleyball, soccer, and softball. The Golden Griffins compete in the NCAA Division I and are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for most sports, excluding men's ice hockey which competes in Atlantic Hockey.
In 2008, the men's baseball team won the regular season MAAC championship for the first time in its history with a 41-13 record. This broke the school record for wins in a single season. One season later, the team advanced to its first MAAC Championship game in program history.
In 2008, Canisius men's lacrosse won the MAAC tournament and earned its first ever bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament.
Canisius again won the MAAC championship in 2012. Sitting at 2-7, The Griffs would win their final 2 regular season games to advance to the MAAC championship as the 3 seed. From there Canisius would avenge regular season losses to Detroit 12-10 and Siena 10-9 en route to their 2nd MAAC Championship and automatic qualifier. The Griffs would eventually fall to 2012 NCAA champion Loyola.
The Canisius College softball team recently won the 2009 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, its 3rd consecutive title win. This marks the team's 11th trip to the NCAA tournament in the last 15 years. The softball team has consistently won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
The Canisius synchronized swim team has been the 3rd place team in the nation since 2008, fielding several national champions in several categories each year. The team has been ECAC champions since 1996.
Canisius won the Canal Cup in 2008 and 2009. The cup commemorates the athletic rivalry between Canisius College and Niagara University. Canisius has won the trophy two times in the Canal Cup's three-year existence.
Canisius' mascot is the Golden Griffin. The college adopted it in 1932, after Charles A. Brady ('33) wrote a story in a Canisius publication honoring Buffalo's centennial year as a city. Brady wrote about Rene-Robert LaSalle's Le Griffon, the first European ship to sail the upper Great Lakes, built here in Buffalo. The name stuck, and Canisius' mascot was born.
According to GoGriffs.com, the griffin is a "mythical creature of supposed gigantic size that has the head, forelegs and wings of an eagle and the hindquarters, tail and ears of a lion." It represents values such as strength, vigilance, and intelligence, all of which befit a college and qualities that one would look for in students and athletes alike.
The College was also the home field of the Buffalo All-Americans of the early National Football League. Around 1917, Buffalo manager, Barney Lepper, signed a lease for the team to play their home games at Canisius College. The All-Americans played several of their games at Canisius before relocating to Bison Stadium in 1924.