During the 2006-07 athletic season, Canisius College and Niagara University developed an all-sports competition, in an effort to enhance the historic rivalry between the Golden Griffins and Purple Eagles.
Points are awarded to the winner of regular-season contests, except for cross country, golf and swimming and diving, which will be determined by Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship standings (see chart below), and the results will be posted on each school's website. The Canal Cup will be awarded to the victor each year.
The name of the series is in reference to the Grand Island Bridge, which each team crosses when traveling to the other's campus. The name of the trophy is in reference to the Erie Canal, which intersects Niagara County, where Niagara is located, and Erie County, where Canisius is located.
Records indicate the two schools first met on the basketball court in 1904. Currently, Canisius and Niagara compete in baseball, men and women's basketball, men and women's cross country, golf, men's ice hockey, women's lacrosse, men and women's soccer, men and women's swimming and diving, softball, women's outdoor track and volleyball.
For men's and women's basketball both games on the regular-season schedule will count. The winner of each game gets two points.
For hockey, the winner of each regular-season game earns one point. If the teams tie in a meeting, each school receives half a point.
For baseball, the winner of the three-game season series will be awarded the two points.
Cross country, golf, swimming and diving and women's outdoor track will be determined at the MAAC Championships. The school that finishes higher will be awarded the points.
Women's lacrosse, men's soccer and women's soccer each play once.
Volleyball meets twice during the regular season and each contest is worth one point.
Softball plays a doubleheader during the regular season. The winner of the series receives the points. If the teams split then each school receives one point.
If there is a tie in total points, the school that currently has the Canal Cup will retain it.
If a non-conference contest or series against Niagara is scheduled in any sport, it will not count in the standings. For example, if the softball teams schedule a non-conference doubleheader in addition to their conference doubleheader, only the series that counts in conference will count in the series standings.