Hockey Central
Junior Hockey & the Memorial Cup
The 85-year Quest for the Top Trophy in a Young Man's Game

Junior Hockey had been played for more than 100 years. It all began in 1890-91 when the Ontario Hockey Association was formed and a few short years later the Kingston Limestones were crowned the first OHA junior hockey champions. There were other forms of junior hockey played across Canada at the turn of the century but a formation of Provincial leagues was not a reality until the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association came into existence in 1914.

As we enter the 21st century, the world of junior hockey has seen much growth from its early Canadian roots. The junior game has experienced boom times in Europe and is growing rapidly in the United States. On the world level, Canada has dominated competition at the World Junior Championships, winning 10 gold medals since the tournament was established in 1977, including five in a row from 1993 to 1997. Canada's long-time hockey rival the Soviet Union/C.I.S. claimed nine golds, the most recent of which came in 1992.

Globally, the World Junior Championships attract almost as many national teams to its B, C and D tournaments as do the World Championships.

In Canada, the game has evolved from its old designations of Junior A and Junior B. The top level of modern junior hockey is known as major junior and consists of three leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. Each spring the champion of each of these three leagues plus a host club compete for the Memorial Cup. Other contemporary junior leagues are classified as Junior A, B or C. Regional Junior A champions play for the Royal Bank Cup in an annual national championship tournament. In recent years, NHL teams have drafted an increasing numbers of players from Canadian Junior A and B, as well as from U.S. junior clubs, but the top breeding ground for NHL talent continues to be Major Junior Hockey.

Most players on Major Junior rosters are 17, 18 or 19 years old. Each team is also allowed to carry three "over age" 20 year olds and, in rare cases, 15 and 16-year-olds have suited up.

The OHL, QMJHL and WHL combine to form the Canadian Hockey League which provides major junior hockey with a national (and international) presence as both the Ontario and Western leagues have teams in the United States as well as Canada. The 1998-99 season will see 53 major junior franchises in operation in eight Canadian provinces and four American states. Even the top club team prize in junior hockey, the Memorial Cup, went international in 1983 when it was won by the Portland Winter Hawks. The Spokane Chiefs became the second U.S.-based champion in 1991.

In its original form, the Memorial Cup has been emblematic of junior hockey supremacy in Canada only. It was back in March of 1919, shortly after World War I had ended, that the CAHA set forth to promote junior hockey in Canada. The hockey body was aided by the Ontario Hockey Association who donated the OHA Memorial Cup Trophy for the Canadian championship of junior teams in national competition. The idea of such a trophy was proposed and promoted by Captain James T. Sutherland, a past president of the OHA and CAHA, and was in memory of the many Canadian hockey players who had made the supreme sacrifice for their country in World War I from 1914 to 1918. It was also in memory of two of the Kingston Frontenacs' finest players and Hockey Hall of Famers, Captain's Alan "Scotty" Davidson and George T. Richardson who were both killed in action during the Great War. Another Hockey Hall of Famer honored was John Ross Robertson, a former OHA president who, during his six-year tenure, had donated three trophies for annual competition, designating one each to be awarded the champions of senior, intermediate and junior divisions. He never lived to see the trophy which was originally called the John Rodd Robertson OHA Memorial Cup, as he died on May 31, 1918.

The Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association donated a trophy to the CAHA in memory of Captain Edward Lyman "Hick" Abbott of Regina who had lost his life in the war. Abbott was a fine player of his day and was a member of the Regina Victorias, the 1914 Allan Cup champions. The trophy would be presented each year to the junior champions of Western Canada. In 1919 another trophy was introduced by the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association in memory of Captain Ollie Turnbull who had also lost his life in World War I. This trophy would be presented annually to the Junior A champions of Manitoba. The Regina Patricias were the first to claim the Abbott Cup in 1919 when they defeated the Manitoba junior champions, the Young Men's Lutheran Club of Winnipeg, in the Western final.

The first OHA Memorial Cup final was played in March 19, 1919 at the Toronto Arena between the University of Toronto Schools and Regina Paticias. It was a two-game total series with the eastern champions overpowering Regina by 14-3 and 15-5 scores for a 29-8 total-goal victory. Team captain Jack Aggett and Don Jeffreys lad the Toronto club with nine goals apiece in the two games. Another member of Toronto's championship squad, defenseman Duncan (Dunc) Munro would later go on to establish an unprecedented feat by adding an Allan Cup championship (1922 and 1923 Toronto Granites), Olympic championship (1924 when the Grantes represented Canada) and a Stanley Cup championship (1926 Montreal Maroons) to his Memorial Cup victory.

Lou March, a legendary sports writer with the Toronto Star officiated both games in 1919 while Jack Hughes, a hockey star from Winnipeg, worked the opening match. Bill Finlay, a sports editor of the Winnipeg Free Press aided Marsh in game two.

As the 1920s roared in so did hockey all across Canada. The sports' fans began filling arenas to watch the brand of high level hockey that good junior players provided. One reason given for this new-found popularity was the Memorial Cup competition and the East-West rivalry. In the first decade of the Canadian junior hockey championships the western clubs managed to win five Memorial Cup titles and trailed the east by only one game in the much followed championship series.

In the 1919-20 campaign, the Toronto Canoe Club powered its way though all opposition and won the Memorial Cup. The Canoe Club defeated the Selkirk Fishermen in a two-game total-goals final and then dispatched Fort William in a "sudden death" game with the likes of Roy Worters, Lionel Conacher and captain Billy Burch who were all keys figures in the Toronto Canoe's Club's road to be Canadian junior hockey championship. Burch would later join the NHL's Hamilton Tigers and in the 1924-25 campaign, led them to a first-place finish. He was the Hart Trophy recipient as league MVP that season. Goaltender Worters went on to a fine NHL career with the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Americans and was the Hart Trophy winner in 1928-29. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1931 as the NHL's top goaltender. Defencemen Lionel Conacher (the Big Train) was a member of two Stanley Cup-winning teams during his 12-year NHL career and was twice runner-up for the Hart Trophy award. Conacher was voted Canada's athlete of the first half of the century by a Canadian Press poll in 1950. All three players were later elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Winnipeg Falcons beat the Stratford Midgets in the 1921 Cup final as the western team upset the eastern champions 11-9 in the two-game total-goals series at Toronto. One of the Stratford players was the legendary Howie Morenz who dazzled the fans with his speed and hockey ability. Morenz would sign an NHL contract with Montreal in 1924 and would play on three Stanley Cup winners with the Canadiens. He led the NHL in scoring twice and was the first three time recipient of the Hart Trophy. Howie was noted as the top hockey player of this half century and was one of the first players to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945.

Many other junior hockey players from this decade went on to great NHL careers. Murray Murdoch of the 1923 University of Manitoba team is one of these. He led the western varsity club to the Memorial Cup that year, scoring nine goals against Kitchener in the two-game final. Murray was the first player to ink a contract with the new NHL expansion New York Rangers in 1926. He was a member of two Rangers Stanley Cup-winning teams and was the National Hockey League's first ironman, playing 508 consecutive games in 11 years with the New York Rangers.

Another Hockey Hall of Famer, Herbie Lewis, played his junior hockey with Calgary in 1923 and 1924 and was a member of Stanley Cup championship teams with Detroit in 1936 and 1937. Ralph "Cooney" Weiland played his junior hockey with the OHA's Owen Sound Greys and was a key member of their 1924 Canadian junior championship team. He turned pro with the Boston Bruins and in the 1929-30 season captured the NHL scoring crown with a record 723 points in 44 games. Another Owen Sound team member was Mel "Butch" Keeling who later played on the 1933 New York Rangers Stanley Cup-winning team.

Ken Doraty, another player of note, was with the Regina Pats, Memorial Cup champions of 1925. Ken's one claim to fame happened on April 3, 1933 while with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a playoff game against Boston. He tallied the winning marker after 10:46 of overtime. The game stands as the second-longest match played in NHL history.

The Memorial Cup Goes West

The Memorial Cup traveled west for the first time when the Winnipeg Falcons beat the Stratford Midgets in 1921. The win followed on the heels of the senior Winnipeg Falcon's Allan Cup and Olympic championships of 1920. Originally formed in 1912 as an amalgamation of the Vikings and the Icelandic Athletic Club, the Falcons players (who were Lutherans of Icelandic decent) faced much prejudice from the British-Protestant majority in Winnipeg as they strove to reach their hockey goals. The Falcons junior team was formed from the Young Mens Lutheran Club in Winnipeg, but its roster contained fewer players of Icelandic decent then did the senior Falcons.

The junior Falcons raced out to a 9-2 lead over Stratford in game one of the two-game total goal Memorial Cup series behind three goals from Wally Fridfinnson. The Midgets struck back with a 7-2 win in game two, including a hat trick from Howier Morenz. but Winnipeg still took the series 11-9 in aggregate. Falcons goalie Scotty Comfort was given immense credit for allowing only seven goals under Stratford's relentless attack in the second game. Falcons defenseman Harry Neil would later coach the Winnipeg Monarchs to Memorial Cup championships in 1935 and 1937, while teammate Art Comers would play seven years in the NHL with Chicago and New York and win the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1933.

A group of junior hockey players followed which included Paul Thompson who was a member of the 1926 Calgary Club that won the Canadian junior title. Paul went on to a 13-year NHL career with New York Rangers (Stanley Cup winners in 1928) and Chicago Black Hawks (Cup winners in 1934 and 1938). Carl Voss was a Memorial Cup finalist with Kingston in 1926 and was the first NHL rookie of the year trophy winner in 1933 with the Detroit Red Wings. He also scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal in the 1938 final for the Black Hawks.

Harold "Mush" March played on the Canadian junior championship-winning Regina Monarchs in 1928. A veteran of 17 NHL seasons with Chicago Black Hawks, "Mush" will be remembered for his overtime goal in the 1934 final over Detroit which gave the Black Hawks their first Stanley Cup championship. One player from the Memorial Cup-losing team that year was the Ottawa Gunners' Syd Howe who also went on to play 17 NHL seasons. In a NHL game on February 3, 1944 against the New York Rangers, Detroit's Syd Howe tallied six goals as the Red Wings hammered the Rangers 12-2.

Toronto saw its third Memorial Cup champion crowned in 1929 when the Marlboros won the coverted trophy for the first time. The team was coached by Frank Selke and led by two future NHL stars, Charlie Conacher and Harvey "Busher" Jackson. Jackson captured the NHL scoring crown in 1932 with the Toronto Maple Leafs while teammate Conacher led all scorers in 1934 and 1935. They both played om their only Stanley Cup winner in 1932 with the Leafs where they formed Toronto's famous "Kid Line" with Joe Primeau. The trio were all later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Another member of the Marlies club was Hall of Famer defenseman Reginald "Red" Horner who followed his two teammates to the Maple Leafs. Earl Seibert was a solid defenseman with the OHA's Kitchener Colts juniors and played on Stanley Cup winners with the New York Rangers in 1932-33 and the Chicago Black Hawks in 1937-38. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963. Two future Hockey Hall of Fame goaltenders from Canadian junior hockey in the 1920s were Cecil "Tiny" Thompson, who played with Calgary, and Charlie Gardiner, who was with the Winnipeg Tigers.

In the 1930s, Canadian junior hockey continued to produce more and more players for the National Hockey League. The 1930 Memorial Cup final, for example, sent six players to the NHL. From the Cup-winning Regina Pats were Frank "Buzz" Boll, Gord Pettinger and Eddie Wiseman while the West Toronto Nationals sent up Bob Gracie, John "Red" Doran and Bill Thoms.

Another future Hall of Famer was Bill Cowley of the Ottawa Primroses, Memorial Cup finalists in 1931. Cowley led the Boston Bruins to a couple of Stanley Cup victories (1939 and 1941) and won the NHL scoring title in 1940-41. He was also awarded the Hart Trophy in 1940-41 and 1942-43.

Dave "Sweeney" Schriner is another Hockey Hall of Famer who played his junior hockey in Calgary. He broke into the NHL in 1934-35 with the New York Americans and captured the rookie of the year award. Schriner won the NHL scoring crown in 1935-36 and 1936-37 and was a member of Stanley Cup championship teams with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1942 and 1945.

In 1931 and 1932 Clint Smith was with the Saskatoon juniors. He joined the NHL in 1937 with the New York Rangers and was on their 1940 Stanley Cup-winning team. He captured the Lady Byng Trophy in 1939 and 1944 and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Bill Durnan first achieved recognition with the junior Sudbury Wolves in 1931-32 and later became the NHL's top goaltender of the 1940s with Montreal Canadiens. He won the Vezina Trophy six out of seven seasons and was a six-time NHL First Team All-Star and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens (1944 and 1946). Bill was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1963.

The Sudbury Wolves captured the Canadian junior title in 1932 with future NHL great Hector "Toe" Blake in their lineup. Blake would later play on three Stanley Cup winners (the 1935 Montreal Maroons and 1944 and 1946 Montreal Canadiens) and was the NHL scoring champion and Hart Trophy recipient in 1938-39. He was also named the Lady Byng Trophy winner in 1946. He later coached the Montreal Canadiens to another eight Stanley Cup victories and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bryan Hextall was on the Memorial Cup-losing Winnipeg Monarchs when Blake's Sudbury team won in 1932. Hextall was a member of the 1940 New York Rangers Stanley Cup championship club and captured the NHL scoring crown in 1942. Hextall's two sons, Bryan Jr., and Dennis, later played in the NHL as does grandson Ron. Bryan Sr. was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

The George T. Richardson trophy was donated in memory of this fine hockey player from Kingston, Ontario who had lost his life in World War I. The trophy was presented to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association by his brother, James A. Richardson of Winnipeg, in 1932. The silver cup trophy is presented annually to the junior hockey champions of Eastern Canada.

In 1934 the Toronto St. Michael's College club assembled one of the finest junior hockey teams in the country. They won the OHA title and the Canadian junior hockey crown that year. There were eight players from that Toronto championship squad who went on to play in the NHL, including Hockey Hall of Fame Bobby Bauer. The others were Reg Hamilton, Regis "Pep" Kelly, Art Jackson, Nick Metz, Don Wilson, Clarence Drouillard and Harvey Teno. Bauer shifted to Kitchener the next season and was teamed with Milt Schmidt and Woodrow "Woody" Dumart and the Kraut Line was born.

In 1937-38 the trio moved up to the Boston Bruins, leading the NHL club to four straight first-place finishes and Stanley Cup triumphs in 1939 and 1941. Boby was singled out for his clean play and sportsmanship in 1940, 1941 and 1947 when he was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy. In a 10-year NHL career he only accumulated 36 penalty minutes. Milt Schmidt would capture the NHL scoring crown in 1940 and the Hart Trophy in 1951. Schmidt, Bauer and Dumart are all members of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Walter "Turk" Broda played junior hockey with Brandon in 1932-33 and led the club to the provincial championship. He began his NHL career with Toronto Maple Leafs and would backstop the Leafs to five Stanley Cup titles while winning the Vezina Trophy three times. His last Vezina win was shared with Al Robins in 1951. Broda later coached the Toronto Marlboros to Memorial Cup victories in 1955 and 1956. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1967.

Sylvanus "Sly" Apps played junior hockey in Paris, Ontario and signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1936. He captured the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year and was the Lady Byng winner in 1942. Syl played on three Toronto Stanley Cup championship teams and in 1961 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Another Hall of Famer from that era of junior hockey was Walter "Babe" Pratt who played with the Kenora Thistles and was the Manitoba Junior Hockey League scoring champion in 1935. Pratt later played on the 1940 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers and the 1945 Toronto Maple Leafs where he scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal. In a game on January 8, 1944, Pratt became the first defenseman to record six assists as Toronto blasted Boston 12-3. Babe had a great 1943-44 season and was awarded the Hart Trophy.

In 1936 the West Toronto Nationals emerged as Canadian junior hockey champions. One player in the Toronto lineup was Roy Conacher who would later play on Stanley Cup-winning teams with Boston in 1939 and 1941. Conacher's best NHL season was 1948-49 with Chicago when he captured the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer.

Herbet "Buddy" O'Connor played junior hockey with Montreal in 1935 and later played on two Stanley Cup-winners with the Canadiens. He captured the Hart Trophy in 1948 with the New York Rangers and is a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Winnipeg Monarchs were the class of Canadian junior hockey in 1937, winning their second Memorial Cup in three years. The Monarchs produced one of the top-rated lines in all of junior hockey that season with team captain Alf Pike, Johnny McCreedy and Dick Kowcinak. Pike was later a member of the 1940 Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers and coached the NHL club after retiring as a player. Johnny McCreedy and Dick Kowcinak played on The Allan Cup champion Trail Smoke Eaters the following season and also in 1939 when the senior club won the IIHF World Championship. McCreedy turned pro with the Toronto Maple Leafs and was a member of their 1942 and 1945 Stanley Cup winners. Another Monarchs team player was Pete Langelle, who also played with Toronto and scored the Leafs' 1942 Cup-winning goal.

John "Black Jack" Stewart was a solid defenseman with the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Black Hawks during his 12-year NHL career. The future Hall of Famer played his junior hockey with the Portage Terriers in 1936 and 1937. He was named to five NHL All-Star teams and was a member of Stanley Cup championship clubs with the Detroit Red Wings in 1943 and 1950.

In 1938 the Oshawa Generals were rated by many as the top junior club in Canada and their star, Billy Taylor, the top player in the country. However the western champion St. Boniface Seals would prove all the experts wrong as they upset Oshawa in the Memorial Cup final before record crowds at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The Seals were led by defenseman Wally Stanowski and Billy Reay who both went on to fine NHL careers. Stanowski would play on four Toronto Maple Leafs Stanley Cup-winning teams (1942, 1945, 1947, and 1948) while Reay was on Montreal Canadiens Stanley Cup championship teams in 1946 and 1953. Bill Reay joined the coaching ranks after his playing days and piloted the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Black Hawks over a 17-year career and recorded 541 victories.

Billy Taylor redeemed himself the following campaign, leading Oshawa to the Canadian junior hockey crown. The team captain won his second OHA junior hockey scoring title that year and tallied nine times in the four-game 1939 Cup final to spark Oshawa to victory. He played on the 1942 Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs and later with Detroit set a NHL record with seven assists as the Red Wings hammered Chicago 10-5 on March 16, 1947. Hall of Famer Ken Reardon was with the Edmonton Club in the 1939 Memorial Cup final and made this comment on Taylor: "He scored five goals in game one of the final against us and was just a one-man show the entire series."

Full Houses Despite Hard Times

Despite the difficult times of the Great Depression, junior hockey continued to draw large crowds during the 1930s. By 1932, junior players who had been used to performing in front of a few hundred spectators were now performing in front of thousands in the brand new Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

Throughout the 1930s, all of the Memorial Cup finals took place either in Winnipeg, where games were played in Shea's Amphitheatre (adjacent to Shea's Brewery) or in Toronto, where the Mutual Street Arena hosted the games in 1931 before the Memorial Cup settled into Maple Leafs Gardens in 1933. with crowds approaching 10,000 fans, the Newmarket Redmen defeated the Regina Pats in three games. With the growing crowds came expansion to a best-of-five format in 1937. Foster Hewitt began broadcasting the games on radio.

The Memorial Cup continued to attract record crowds throughout the 1940s despite World War II. The series alternated between Toronto and Winnipeg for the first few years of the decade before moving to Maple Leaf Gardens exclusively in 1943. The Memorial Cup finals were expanded to a best-of-seven format that year and though the series only went six games, the Oshawa Generals and Winnipeg Rangers attracted 73,867 fans for an average of 12,311 per game. Winnipeg took the series with a 4-3 win in game six that was witnessed by 14,485 fans. In 1947, the Memorial Cup went on the road again, with games hosted in Winnipeg, Regina, and Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The Montreal Royals became Quebec's first Memorial Cup winner playing in Winnipeg in 1940. In 1950 the tournament was held at the Montreal Forum for the first time.

World War II began in 1939 in Europe and Canada was at war again. The National Hockey League and Canadian junior hockey leagues still operated during the six-year ordeal that was to follow and only the senior hockey leagues were changed to military hockey leagues.

Saskatchewan produced many junior hockey players for the NHL over the years and, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, sent five future Hall of Famers to the big league. Sid Abel broke into the NHL in 1938-39 with Detroit Red Wings and in 1949 was named the Hart Trophy winner. Doug Bentley was next when he made the Chicago Black Hawks club in 1939-40 and was the NHL's scoring champion in 1943. Max Bentley followed his brother to Chicago in 1940-41 and would capture the scoring title in 1946 and 1947. He was also the Lady Byng winner in 1943 and Hart Trophy winner in 1946.

Elmer Lach entered the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens in 1940-41 and won the scoring crown in 1945 and 1946 and the Hart Trophy in 1945.

Charlie "Chuck" Rayner played his first junior hockey with the Saskatoon Wesleys at age 16 in 1936-37 and later with the Kenora Thistles of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League from 1937-38 to 1939-40. He began his NHL career with the New York Americans in 1940-41 and after the war joined the New York Rangers. In 1950 he bacame only the second goaltender to win the Hart Trophy.

Then came a Manitoban, Billy Mosienko who played just one year of junior hockey with the Winnipeg Monarchs in 1939-40 before turning pro with the Chicago Black Hawks. The future Hall of Famer captured the Lady Byng Trophy in 1945 and is still the NHL record holder of the three fastest goals in 21 seconds. "Wee Willie" set the record in a game played on March 23, 1952 at Madison Square Garden as his Chicago Black Hawks registered a 7-6 victory over the New York Rangers.

Maurice "Rocket" Richard played with Verdun of the Quebec Junior Hockey League in 1938-39 and 1939-40. Richard made his NHL debut in 1942-43 with the Montreal Canadiens and was a member of eight Stanley Cup winners in his brilliant career. The Rocket was the Hart Trophy recipient in 1947 and was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1961.

One of the top defenseman in NHL history was Doug Harvey who began his hockey career in the Quebec Junior Hockey League with Montreal in 1942-43. The Hall of Famer played on six Stanley Cup-winning teams with the Montreal Canadiens and won the Norris Trophy as top NHL defenseman seven times.

Albert "Red" Tilson played with the Oshawa juniors in 1942 and 1943 as the Generals were Memorial Cup finalists both years. Tilson lost his life the following year in battle during World War II. The Red Wilson Trophy, awarded to the Most Valuable Player in the Ontario junior league was established in his honor and the annual award has been presented since 1945.

Ted Lindsay played junior hockey with St. Michael's College in Toronto as well as with the Oshawa Generals and was part of their 1944 Canadian junior championship team. He turned pro with Detroit in 1944-45 and was a key member of four Red Wings Stanley Cup winners. Ted won the NHL scoring crown in 1950 and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.

Gordie Howe played his minor hockey in Saskatoon and in 1944-45 journeyed east and joined the OHA Galt junior Red Wings. Gordie broke into the NHL in 1946-47 with Detroit and led the Red Wings to four Stanley Cup championships, scoring the winning goal in the 1955 final. He was nicknamed "Mr. Hockey" and that was exactly what he was for 26 NHL seasons and 1,767 games. Howe was named to 21 All-Star teams and was a six-time NHL scoring champion and a recipient of the Hart Trophy another six times. Gordie is, and always will be, a great ambassador for the game of hockey. In 1972 he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Terry Sawchuk played one year of junior hockey with the Winnipeg Rangers and in 1946-47 he tended goal for the Windsor Spitfires. Terry became the Detroit Red Wings' regular netminder in 1950-51 and won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year. He would go on to play on four Stanley Cup winners with Detroit and Toronto and was a four-time Vezina Trophy recipient. Terry recorded a record 103 shutouts in his starry career and was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1971.

A standout defenseman by the name of Leonard "Red" Kelly was first noticed when he was a member of the 1947 Memorial Cup champion St. Michael's Majors. In his 20-year NHL career, Kelly won the Lady Byng trophy four times, was the first winner of the Norris Trophy and played on eight Stanley Cup championship teams with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1969.

Goaltender Jacques Plante played his junior hockey in the Quebec league and began his NHL career in 1952-53 with the Montreal Canadiens. He backstopped Montreal to six Stanley Cup titles and would put his name on the Vezina Trophy a record seven times. In 1962 he became only the fourth goalie to win the Hart Trophy. Plante recorded a total of 82 shutouts in his career and was the first goaltender to wear a mask on a regular basis. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.

Dickie Moore played on two straight Memorial Cup-winning teams, the Montreal Royals in 1949 and the Montreal Junior Canadiens in 1950. These were the first two teams from Quebec to win Canada's national junior championship. Moore began his NHL career in 1951-52 with Montreal and helped the Canadiens to six Stanley Cup wins and twice led the NHL in scoring (1958 and 1959). Moore was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1974.

There were also a dozen Canadian junior hockey players in the 1940s that were later elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Harry Watson, Fern Flaman, Bill Gadsby, Johnny Bower, Bert Olmstead, Tom Johnson, Bill Quackenbush, Alex Delvecchio, Marcel Pronovost, Glenn Hall, Tim Horton and George Armstrong.

Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion played junior hockey with the Montreal Nationals in 1950-51 and moved up to the Montreal Canadiens the following season, winning the Calder Trophy. He was on six Stanley Cup championship teams with Montreal, won the Art Ross Trophy twice and the Hart Trophy once in 1961. Geoffrion was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Jean Beliveau played junior hockey with Victoriaville and Quebec before signing with the Montreal Canadiens in 1953. In 1956 Beliveau won the NHL scoring title and Hart Trophy and captured his second Hart Trophy in 1964. He led the Montreal Canadiens to a total of 10 Stanley Cup wins and was the first recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1965 as playoff MVP. Jean was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1972.

Andy Bathgate played all his minor hockey in Winnipeg and then went east to the Guelph juniors and captained the Biltmores to the Memorial Cup in 1952. Bathgate made his NHL debut the following season with the New York Rangers and in 1959 he was the Hart Trophy recipient. Andy was later traded to Toronto and scored the Leafs' Stanley Cup-winning goal in 1964. He was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1978.

From 1951-52 to 1954-55 Henri Richard played in the Quebec Junior Hockey League with Montreal. The following season he joined the Montreal Canadiens and followed in the footsteps of his older brother, the illustrious Maurice Richard. Henri was a member of a record 11 Stanley Cup teams and twice scored the Cup-winning goal. He won the Masterton Trophy in 1974 and was elected into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

The Inkerman Rockets

A farming community of 100 people in the lower Ottawa Valley, the tiny town of Inkerman, Ontario boasted a junior hockey team that captivated fans from Kingston to Montreal for a brief period in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The brainchild of Lloyd Laporte, a school teacher from nearby Winchester who wanted to give local players an opportinity to play organized hockey, the Inkerman Rockets played in the Winchester and District Intermediate League. Aided by local farmers who contributed five dollars apiece, Laporte was able to obtain red and white jerseys on sale for this team and named them the Rockets to match the "R" logo that was already stitched on the sweaters. The Rockets would win five consecutive Ottawa and District championship and reached the 1951 Memorial Cup quarterfinals. Among the Rockets players that year was future hockey author and broadcaster Brian McFarlane, who had the unenviable task of covering Jean Beliveau in the big game. Beliveau's Quebec Citadelles proved too much for the small-town team, though they would fall to the eventual Memorial Cup champion Barrie Flyers in the eastern championship game.

Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Hull played junior hockey in the OHA with the St. Catharines Teepees in 1955-1956 and 1956-57 before joining the Chiacgo Black Hawks. He won the NHL crown three times, the Hart Trophy twice and the Lady Byng Trophy once. Bobby was on one Stanley Cup winner in 1961 with Chicago and was elected to the Hall in 1983.

Like Hull, Stan Mikita played his junior hockey with St. Catharines and in 1959 he moved up to the Chicago Black Hawks. Stan would capture the NHL scoring title four times over a 20-year career and is still the only player to win the Art Ross, Hart and Lady Byng trophies in the same season. Mikita then duplicated his 1966-67 trophy haul by accomplishing the rare triple again the following year. He was a member of the Chicago's 1961 Stanley Cup championship team and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. Other Hockey Hall of Famers to play Canadian junior hockey in the 1950s were Johnny Bucyk, Norm Ullman, Harry Howell, Rod Gilbert, Jean Ratelle, Bobby Pulford, Frank Mahovlich, Pierre Pilote and Dave Keon.

Phil Esposito played his junior hockey with St. Catharines in 1961-62 and broke into the NHL with Chicago in 1963-64. After being traded by Chicago to Boston in 1967, "Espo" won the Art Ross Trophy five times and was the first NHL player to record 100 points in a season (1968-69). He was also a two-time Hart Trophy recipient and was a member of two Boston Stanley Cup winning teams. Phil was inducted into the Hockey Hall in 1984.

One of the top defensemen of all-time, Bobby Orr played his junior hockey with Oshawa, leading the Generals to the 1966 Memorial Cup final. Bobby began his NHL career in 1966-67 with the Boston Bruins and was the Calder Trophy winner. He then went on to claim eight straight Norris Trophy wins as the NHL's top defenseman. He was the first rearguard to win the Art Ross Trophy (in 1970) and was the scoring champion again in 1975. Orr was the Hart Trophy winner three straight years and led the Boston Bruins to Stanley Cup victories in 1970 and 1972. He scored the Cup-winning goal and won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in both years. Bobby Orr was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1979.

Bobby Clarke played all of his minor hockey including junior in Flin Flon, Manitoba. He led the Bombers to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League championship in 1967 and captured the league's scoring title with 183 points. Bobby played his best two junior years with Flin Flon in the WCHL and led that league in scoring both seasons while capturing the MVP honors in 1969. He broke into the NHL with Philadelphia in 1969-70 and captained the Flyers to Stanley Cup championships in 1974 and 1975. Clarke was named the Hart Trophy recipient three times (1973, 1975 and 1976). He was also the winner of the Masterton Trophy in 1972 for perseverance and dedication to hockey and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1969 the NHL held its first Amateur Draft and from the first 24 selections, 16 players from the Ontario Junior Hockey League were chosen. Another six came from the Western Hockey League while one came from the Quebec Junior League. The Canadian junior team of the 1960s was the Edmonton Oil Kings, winners of the Abbott Trophy as western champions seven straight years from 1960 to 1966. The Oil Kings also won two Memorial Cup championships. Other Hockey Hall of Famers that played Canadian junior hockey in the 1060s were, Bernie Parent, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe, Brad Park, Darryl Sittler, Gilbert Perreault, Denis Potvin and Marcel Dionne.

At the 1970 CAHA annual meeting the delegates gave their approval for a split-level Junior A setup that would embrace only the OHA, WCHL and the QAHA, forerunners of today's three major junior leagues. The rest of the country would be relegated to a lower tier of competition. The Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association came forward in 1970 and donated the Manitoba Centennial Cup Trophy to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. This trophy would be presented annually to the Junior A Canadian Junior Hockey Champions. In 1996 the Centennial Cup trophy was retired and was replaced by the Royal Bank Cup.

After leading the Quebec Remparts to the 1971 Memorial Cup championship in his final junior hockey, Guy Lafleur was drafted first overall by the Montreal Canadiens later that year. He went on to win three straight NHL scoring crowns and captured the Hart Trophy in 1977 and 1978. Guy was a member of five Stanley Cup championship teams with the Canadiens and was the 1976 Conn Smythe Trophy winner. Lafleur was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988.

In 1972 the Memorial Cup playoff final was changed to a round-robin tournament with the champions of the Ontario Quebec and Western Hockey League's meeting in the final.

Toronto's Championship Teams

The city of Toronto has been home to 14 Memorial Cup championship teams, including the St. Michael's Majors (1934, 1945, 1947 and 1961), the West Toronto Redmen (1936), the Toronto Canoe Club (1920), and the University of Toronto Schools (1919). The most successful junior club in Canadian hockey history is the Toronot Marlboros who won the Memorial Cup a record seven times (1929, 1955, 1956, 1964, 1967, 1973 and 1975).

The Toronto Marlborough Hockey Club took its name from the Duke of Marlborough after team secretary Fred Waghorne wrote him in 1903 to obtain permission to use his name and crown for the athletic club. The club's first Ontario junior championship came in 1903 when the Marlboros beat the Kingston Frontenac-Beechgroves. As champions of the OHA, the Marlboros challenged Ottawa for the (still strictly amateur) Stanley Cup in 1904. After a respectable showing in a 6-3 loss in game one, the Marlies were crushed 11-2 by the Silver Seven in the series finale.

Almost 70 years later, the Toronto Marlboros enjoyed a record-setting season in 1972-73 with 47 wins and 103 points. The team boasted stars like Mike and Marty Howe, Paulin Bordeleau, Wayne Dillon and Mike Palmateer, and the sellout crowd of 16,485 they drew for the deciding game of the OHA final that year was the largest attendance ever for a junior game at Maple Leaf Gardens. The Marlies would win the Memorial Cup in 1973 and again in 1975, but were no longer attracting many fans in the 1980s. After the 1988-89 season, the Marlboros left Toronto and became the Hamilton Dukes. Major junior hockey would not be back in Toronto until 1997 when St. Michael's College returned to the ranks as a member of the Ontario Hockey League.

Bryan Trottier played junior hockey in Swift Current and Lethbridge. He was drafted by New York Islanders in 1972 and made his NHL debut in 1975-76 with the Isles, winning the Calder Trophy. He was the Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner in 1979. Trottier played on six Stanley Cup winners, four with the Islanders and two with the Pittsburgh Penguins. In 1980 he was selected the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as playoff MVP. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997.

There were also three of Trottier's New York Islanders teammates that shared four consecutive Stanley Cup victories of 1980 to 1983 who were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Defenceman Denis Potvin played five seasons with the Ottawa 67's juniors before joining the New York Islanders in 1973-74. He was named the Calder Trophy winner that campaign and captured the Norris Trophy in 1976, 1978 and 1979. Goaltender Billy Smith was with the Cornwall Royals juniors and in 1970 was drafted by the L.A. Kings. He was claimed by the New York Islanders from Los Angeles in 1972 Expansion Draft. Smith's lone individual NHL award came in 1982 when he captured the Vezina Trophy. Mike Bossy played junior hockey for Laval and in four seasons scored a total of 308 goals with the Voisins. In his first NHL season with New York Islanders in 1977-78 he was awarded the Calder Trophy after scoring a rookie-record of 85 goals. Mike was also the 1982 Conn Smythe Trophy winner and a three-time Lady Byng recipient.

Steve Shutt played junior hockey with the Toronto Marlboros against Larry Robinson who was with the Kitchener Rangers in 1970-71. Both players were drafted by the Montreal Canadiens and played on the 1973 Stanley Cup winner in their first NHL season. Shutt would be a member of five Stanley Cup winners and Robinson six, all with the Montreal Canadiens. Shutt was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993 and Robinson followed in 1995.

Lanny McDonald played with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the Western Hockey League in both 1971-72 and 1972-73 before joining the Maple Leafs in 1973-74. He won the Masterton Trophy in 1983 and played on a Stanley Cup winner at the end of his playing career with the Calgary Flames in 1989. McDonald was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.

Wayne Gretzky played his last year of junior hockey in 1977-78 with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He turned pro the following season at age 17 with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association and was traded to the Edmonton Oilers after playing only eight games. Wayne went on to a good NHL career and either holds or shares more than 60 NHL individual records. He was won the Art Ross Trophy 10 times, the Hart Trophy nine times and the Lady Byng trophy on four occasions. Gretzky was a member of four Stanley Cup winning teams with Edmonton and in 1985 and 1988 was named the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient.

Mark Messier played junior hockey with the St. Albert Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 1977-78. He broke into the NHL in 1979-80 with Edmonton after one season in the World Hockey Association and was a member of five Oilers Stanley Cup championship teams, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1984. Mark also captained the New York Rangers to their 1994 Stanley Cup victory. Messier captured the Hart Trophy in 1990 with Edmonton and in 1992 with the Rangers.

Mario Lemieux was with Laval of the Quebec Hockey League and played three years of junior hockey with the Voisins and was the Canadian junior hockey player of the year in 1984 when he set records for most goals (133) and points (282) in a season. Lemieux was the Pittsburgh Penguins' first choice, first overall in the 1984 NHL Draft and was the Calder Trophy winner in 1985. He went on to captain Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup championship teams in 1991 and 1992 and was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner both years. Mario won the Art Ross Trophy on six occasions and was a two-time Hart Trophy winner. Mario was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. Now is he back playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins and is playing greater then ever.

Another provincial Junior A player was Brett Hull who was with the Penticton Knights of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League in 1983-84. Brett followed his famous father Bobby's footsteps into the NHL and won the Lady Byng trophy in 1990 and the Hart Trophy in 1991 while with the St. Louis Blues. Paul Kariya also played in Penticton before joining the University of Maine Black Bears and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He represented Canada at the 1994 Winter Olypics and was the NHL's First Team All-Star left winger in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Eric Lindros was a key player in the Oshawa Generals' 1990 Memorial Cup victory. The following OHL season with Oshawa, Lindros won the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy (leading scorer) and the Albert "Red" Tilson Trophy as the league's MVP. He was drafted number one in 1991 by Quebec but would not sign with the Nordiques and was later traded to Philadelphia. In 1994-95, his third season with the Flyers, Lindros was voted the Hart Trophy winner.

The Masterton Memorial Cup has been in competition for 85 years and is still one of the most important events on the hockey calendar. Junior hockey for all these many years has been and continues to be a focal point for the communities in which it is played and the main contributor of players to professional hockey.

In 1999 the Ottawa 67's and the City of Ottawa played host to the Memorial Cup for the first time since 1972. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League became the first team from Atlantic Canada to qualify for the Memorial Cup finals. The 1999 tournament, won by the host 67's, set a new attendance record as a total of 84,200 fans attended the eight game series.

History was made in 2000 as for the first time ever the Memorial Cup finals were held in the Maritimes. The City of Halifax and the Halifax Mooseheads hosted one of the most successful Memorial Cups as the tournament was held at the Halifax Metro Centre. The eight game tournament attracted close to 80,000 fans with the Rimouski Oceanic winning their first ever Memorial Cup.

The CHL's 55 teams have all started their journey to earn the right to be a part of the proud and storied history of the Memorial Cup.

Memorial CupThe Memorial Cup was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March, 1919, in remembrance of the many young men and women who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in the First World War.

Initially the Cup was awarded to the national junior hockey champions of Canada. Later on it came to signify Junior 'A' hockey supremacy when in 1934, junior hockey in Canada was divided into 'A' and 'B' classifications. In 1971, junior 'A' hockey was divided once again to form a major junior and a Tier 'II' level. The Memorial Cup was awarded to the higher category. In 1972, a round-robin tournament format replaced the old play-down system to determine the champions. Since then, the champions of the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), along with a host club, have met each spring in a round-robin series with the two top teams playing off in a sudden-death game to determine the Cup champions.

Most Titles (Team Category): Toronto Marlboros (7)
Most Titles (Player Category): Ryan Huska, Tyson Nash, Robert Savard, Darcy Tucker (3)

The Masterton Memorial Cup Winners
1918-19 University of Toronto Schools
1919-20 Toronto Canoe Club Paddlers
1920-21 Winnipeg Junior Falcons
1921-22 Fort William War Veterans
1922-23 University of Manitoba Bisons
1923-24 Owen Sound Greys
1924-25 Regina Pats
1925-26 Calgary Canadians
1926-27 Owen Sound Greys
1927-28 Regina Monarchs
1928-29 Toronto Marlboros
1929-30 Regina Pats
1930-31 Elmwood Millionaires
1931-32 Sudbury Cub Wolves
1932-33 Newmarket Redmen
1933-34 Toronto St. Michael's Majors
1934-35 Winnipeg Monarchs
1935-36 West Toronto Nationals
1936-37 Winnipeg Monarchs
1937-38 Trail St. Boniface Seals
1938-39 Oshawa Generals
1939-40 Oshawa Generals
1940-41 Winnepeg Rangers
1941-42 Portage la Praire Terriers
1942-43 Winnipeg Rangers
1943-44 Oshawa Generals
1944-45 Toronto St. Michael's Majors
1945-46 Winnipeg Monarchs
1946-47 Toronto St. Michael's Majors
1947-48 Port Aruthur West End Bruins
1948-49 Montreal Royals
1949-50 Montreal Junior Canadiens
1950-51 Barrie Flyers
1951-52 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters
1952-53 Barrie Flyers
1953-54 St. Catharines Tee Pees
1954-55 Tornoto Marlboros
1955-56 Toronto Marlboros
1956-57 Flin Flon Bombers
1957-58 Ottawa-Hull Canadiens
1958-59 Winnipeg Braves
1959-60 St. Catharines Tee Pees
1960-61 Toronto St. Michael's Majors
1961-62 Hamilton Red Wings
1962-63 Edmonton Oil Kings
1963-64 Toronto Marlboros
1964-65 Niagara Falls Flyers
1965-66 Edmonton Oil Kings
1966-67 Toronto Marlboros
1976-68 Niagara Falls Flyers
1978-69 Montreal Junior Canadiens
1969-70 Montreal Junior Canadiens
1970-71 Quebec Remparts
1971-72 Cornwall Royals
1972-73 Toronto Marlboros (OHL)
1973-74 Regina Pats (WHL)
1974-75 Toronto Marlboros (OHL)
1975-76 Hamilton Fincups (OHL)
1976-77 New Westminster Bruins (WHL)
1977-78 New Westminster Bruins (WHL)
1978-79 Peterborough Petes (OHL)
1979-80 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL)
1980-81 Cornwall Royals (QMJHL)
1981-82 Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
1982-83 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1983-84 Ottawa 67's (OHL)
1984-85 Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
1985-86 Guelph Platers (OHL)
1986-87 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
1987-88 Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL)
1988-89 Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
1989-90 Oshawa Generals (OHL)
1990-91 Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
1991-92 Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
1992-93 Sault St. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
1993-94 Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
1994-95 Kamloops Blazers (WHL)
1995-96 Granby Predateurs (QMJHL)
1996-97 Hull Oylmpiques (QMJHL)
1997-98 Portland Winter Hawks (WHL)
1998-99 Ottawa '67s (OHL)
1999-00 Rimouski Océanic (QMJHL)
2000-01 Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
2001-02 Kootenay Ice (WHL)
2002-03 Kitchener Rangers (OHL)
2003-04 Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
2004-05 London Knights (OHL)
2005-06 Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
2006-07 Vancouver Giant (WHL)
2007-08 Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
2008-09 Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
2009-10 Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
2010-11 Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
2011-12 Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
2012-13 Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
2013-14 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
2014-15 Oshawa Generals (OHL)
2015-16 London Knights (OHL)