Hockey Central
Senior Hockey & the Allan Cup – Part 2
The European Challenge

On January 12, 1953, Canadian Amateur Hockey Association president W.B. George announced that Canada would not be sending a team to the 1953 World Championships.

"Every year we spend $10,000 to send a Canadian hockey team to Europe to play 40 exhibition games [and the IIHF World Championships]." George explained to the press. "All of these games are played to packed houses that only enrich European hockey coffers. In return we are subjected to constant, unnecessary abuse over our Canadian style of play."

It was difficult to find a team willing to make the trip when Canada returned to the World Championships in 1954, but the CAHA finally found the East York Lyndhursts of surburban Toronto. Though not up to the caliber of previous Canadian entries, the Lyndhursts easily outscored their opponents 57-5 in winning their first six games. Facing the USSR in the final game, the Lyndhursts were crushed 7-2 and the Soviets became the world hockey champions at their very first tournament.

Canada's hockey honor would be restored the following year by the Penticton Vees. Named for three varieties of peaches – the Vedette, the Valiant and the Veteran – the Vees had been formed in the British Columbia Okanagan Valley orchard city in 1950 but did not play their first game until 1951-52. Led by Warwick brothers Dick, Billy and Grant (whose amateur status had been restored after his NHL career) the Vees were Allan Cup finalists in just their second season and Allan Cup champions in 1954. Penticton's IIHF World Championship victory in 1955 seemed almost a case of too much, too fast and instead of wanting more, fans lost interest. The team withdrew from hockey after losing $15,000 in 1955-56.

The last Canadian senior amateur team to win a world championship also hailed from British Columbia. Though their jersey depicted the stacks of the Cominco mine, the Trail Smoke Eaters had actually been named in 1929 after star center Carroll Kendall staked around the ice puffing on a pipe that an irate fan had thrown onto the ice. The "Smokies" became world champs for the first time 10 years later but it is their victory in 1961 that has become a part of Canadian hockey folklore. Every member of the team was a hometown boy except captain Cal Hockley, who was imported from nearby Fernie, B.C. in 1956. Trail is still represented by a Smoke Eaters team and Hockley is captain of the world championship alumni club, known affectionately around town as "the 61ers."

In the 1955 Allan Cup final, the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen delighted their hometown fans with a four-games-to-one series triumph over the Fort William Beavers. Ken Laufman, who led the OHA in scoring during the regular season with 61 points in 50 games, was their leader in the playoffs. In goal for the Dutchmen was Denis Brodeur (father of the New Jersey Devils' Martin) who was the OHA's leading netminder during the regular campaign. The Kitchener-Waterloo coach was Bobby Bauer of Boston Bruin fame. The Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen represented Canada in the 1956 Winter Olympics at Cortina, Italy. In the final round of the tournament Canada suffered a 4-1 loss to the United States and then a 2-0 setback at the hands of the Soviet Nationals. It was a very disappointing third-place finish for the Canadians at these Olympics and the bronze medal was not what they had expected.

The Whitby Dunlops captured the 1957 OHA and Eastern senior hockey championships and met the Western-winning Spokane Flyers in the finals played at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens. It marked the first time a United States team had qualified for the Allan Cup series. Whitby, however, made short work of the Americans by upending Spokane four games to none. The 1958 World Championships were held at Oslo, Norway and the defending Allan Cup champions from Whitby were the Canadian representatives for the tournament. Bob Attersley tallied the winning goal in the final game as Canada defeated the Soviet Nationals 4-2 and captured the world title. Team captain for the Canadian squad was defenseman Harry Sinden who would later coach the 1969-70 Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup victory. Harry was also the Team Canada coach in the historic 1972 Summit Series.

The Belleville McFarlands were Canadian senior hockey champions in 1958, but it was an uphill battle all the way as they came back from a three-games-to-one series deficit against the Kelowna Packers to win the final and the Allan Cup. Belleville won the seventh game of the final in Kelowna by an 8-5 score as Russ Kowalchuk sparked the winners with three goals while playing coach Ike Hildebrand and Minnie Menard chipped in with two tallies each. In 1959, Canada was represented by Belleville at the world hockey tournament in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Ike Hildebrand was still the McFarlands' playing coach and was assisted by Billy Reay who made the overseas trip as Belleville's business manager. The McFarlands won the tournament with a record of seven wins and one loss and fulfilled the real purpose of their mission by defeating the Soviet Nationals by a 3-1 count.

The Canadian senior hockey championship of 1959 was won by the Whitby Dunlops who captured their second Allan Cup in three years be defeating the Vernon Canadians four games to one. Key performers for the Dunlops were playing coach Sid Smith (a former Toronto Maple Leaf) and team captain Harry Sinden who was a tower of strength on defence. Another member of the winning squad was Pete Babando who scored the 1950 Stanley Cup winning goal in overtime for the Detroit Red Wings. The Dunlops declined the invitation to represent Canada at the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California, thus paving the way for the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen to appear in their second successive Olympics. The Canadians played a fine tournament and only a 2-1 loss to the United States prevented them from winning the championship. Fred Etcher of the Canadian team was the leading tournament scorer with 21 points in seven games for the silver medal winners. Bobby Rousseau and Cliff Pennington also played for Canada in the tournament. In 1962 Rousseau was the Calder Trophy winner with the Montreal Canadiens and Pennington was the runner-up for the top rookie award as a member of the Boston Bruins.

The Chatham Maroons won the Canadian senior hockey crown in 1960, defeating the Trail Smoke Eaters in the final four games to none with one game tied. Goaltender Cesare Maniago was outstanding for the Allan Cup champions throughout the playoffs. Maniago would later play 15 years in the NHL with five different teams. At the 1961 World Championships in Geneva, Switzerland, Canada was represented by the Smoke Eaters after Chatham turned down the invitation. The Canadians opened the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Czechoslovakia and thereafter, both teams won all their games before the final day which meant that the Smoke Eaters needed to defeat the Soviet national team by four goals in the final game. A late third-period goal by Norm Lenardon gave the Canadian team a 5-1 victory and the 1961 world hockey title.

In 1962, the Trail Smoke Eaters won the Canadian senior hockey championship by defeating the Montreal Olympics in the final. The following year, Trail once again represented Canada at the world hockey tourney in Stockholm, Sweden. This time the Smoke Eaters finished the tournament in fourth place behind national teams from the Soviet Union, Sweden and Czechoslovakia. After 1963, neither the Allan Cup winners nor other top senior clubs would represent Canada in international competition. Father David Bauer's national team would take over the hockey program and represent Canada in the Olympic and IIHF World Championships from 1964 until 1969. Afterwards, Canada would not play international events until NHL players were allowed to take part.

One of the most overpowering victories in Allan Cup history was recorded in 1967 by the Drummondville Eagles who captured the prized trophy with a four-games-to-none final series triumph over the Calgary Spurs. Drummondville netminder Claude Cyr turned in a sparkling series performance in registering shutouts in all four games which amounted to 240 minutes of flawless goaltending. The Galt Hornets captured the Allan Cup in 1969 with a four-games-to-none sweep of the Calgary Stampeders. In 1971 Galt won its second Canadian senior hockey crown in three years by again defeating the same Stampeders club four games to none in the final. Vance Millar led his Galt teammates in that championship game scoring two goals, including the Cup winner.

In 1970 the Spokane Jets defeated the Orillia Terriers four games to two in the senior final and became the first United States team in 62 years of Allan Cup competition to win the Canadian senior hockey trophy. The Jets won their second Allan Cup title in three years in 1972 when they upended the Barrie Flyers four games to two. Barrie won the Allan Cup for the first time in 1974, beating the Cranbrook Royals in the Canadian senior hockey final four games to two. The Thunder Bay Twins captured the Canadian senior hockey championship in 1975 by defeating the defending Cup holders from Barrie four games to two in the Allan Cup final. Tom Deacon was the main marksman for the Twins in that final game scoring three goals, including the winner in a 6-4 Thunder Bay victory. In 1976 the Spokane Flyers won the Allan Cup again with a four-games-to-none victory over the Barrie Flyers, who were making their fourth appearance in the championship series in the past five years.

The Brantford Alexanders captured the Canadian senior hockey championship in 1977 with a four-games-to-one series victory over the defending Allan Cup champions from Spokane. In the final game of the series, Fred Speck deflected Denny McLean's pass into the net for the winning goal. Jack Egers, who had played with the Washington Capitals during the previous season, scored nine goals in the finals and was named the most valuable player in the series. In 1980 the Spokane Flyers recaptured the Canadian senior hockey crown with a four-game Allan Cup sweep of the Cambridge Hornets. It was the fourth Allan Cup victory by a Spokane team since 1970.

Newfoundland's Near Victory

Despite the fact that Newfoundland did not join Canada until 1949, organized hockey on "The Rock" dates back to 1899, when the first league was formed. The province's senior league became powerful enough in the 1980s to challenge for the Allan Cup and in 1985 the Corner Brook Royals lost at home in the finals to Thunder Bay after leading three games to none.

In 1986, Corner Brook reached the eastern finals against Flamboro, Ontario – a team featuring ex-NHLers Rocky Saganiuk, Stan Jonathan and goalie Ken Ellacott. The Royals won a high-scoring, wild affair in seven games to advance to the national Allan Cup finals in Nelson, British Columbia. Playing with the support of 30 loud Newfoundland fans who crossed Canada to support their team. Steve MacKenzie was the game one star, as his hat trick paced the Royals to a 6-4 win. Then, Royals goalie Dave Matte made 40 saves in a 6-5 victory, following it up with 37 more in a 5-2 triumph, placing his team within one win of the title again. The well-balanced Royals easily took game four 7-0 to complete the road sweep against a physically intimidating Nelson squad. It was the island's sole national championship. Several years later, the Newfoundland league folded after pricing itself out of existence with expensive "import" players.

The Thunder Bay Twins were the Canadian senior hockey team of the 1980s, winning four Allan Cup titles during the decade. They captured the senior hockey championship in 1984, 1985, 1988 and 1989. Along with their first Cup win in 1975, it gave the Twins a total of five Allan Cup victories, which is the most won by any club in Canadian senior hockey history.

By the time Thunder Bay had come to dominate senior hockey, fewer and fewer Canadian communities were displaying the fan support and corporate financial backing necessary to ice a top-level amateur club. Declining interest would force a number of provincial associations to cancel their senior series due to shortage of teams. The Ontario Hockey Association suspended its senior A series after the 1991-92 season, signaling the close of the oldest league in hockey. Still, the Allan Cup continues and in the 1990s the Warroad Lakers of Minnesota did what no Canadian senior hockey club had ever done before by winning the trophy three years in a row.

In the 1994 Allan Cup final, Warroad defeated the St. Boniface Mohawks 5-2 to claim their first Allan Cup title. The following year the Lakers won the championship with a 3-2 victory over the Stony Plain Eagles. They won their third straight Canadian senior amateur hockey crown in 1996 by once again beating the Stony Plain Eagles 6-1. The Powell River Regals denied the Lakers a fourth straight title when they beat Warroad 7-3 in the 1997 Allan Cup finals. This United States-based team was located just six miles below the Canadian border in Manitoba and was founded by Cal Marvin (who managed the three championship teams) some 50 years before. Marvin was honored in 1997 by the province of Manitoba, where the Lakers played most of their games, when he was inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame.

There are a number of reasons for the decline of senior amateur hockey in recent years and many of them read like a litany of complaints about the modern world. Globalization of the economy and modern telecommunications mean people can – and do – know more about what is happening half a world away than in their own backyard. Community pride is not what it once was and a hockey fan in small-town Saskatchewan is more likely to relate to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim than the Prince Albert Raiders. Businesses cannot hand out jobs just because a person can play hockey, nor would the public let them. In a fast-paced, modern world, senior hockey has become like a relic on an archaeological site – if you dig deep enough, you'll find a fascinating history.

The Allan Cup was donated by Sir H. Montague Allan, C.V.O. shortly after the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the professional hockey clubs.

While the Stanley Cup originated as an amateur trophy, the proceeds from the Cup games went to the competing teams. This led to abuses of the principles of amateurism as clubs gathered star players from all parts of the country, regardless of cost, knowing that if they got into a Stanley Cup series their share of the receipts would take care of the extra expenses in building up a championship team. As a result Mr. Northey prevailed upon Sir Montague to offer a trophy for the encouragement of the amateurs, and to safeguard it with such rules and regulations as to prevent it from ever becoming a menace to the sport it was designed to foster. It was decided to make the cup a challenge trophy open to any senior club having won the championship of its league that year. The surplus proceeds after paying the legitimate expenses of the competing teams to be given to charity.

Interest in the Allan Cup became greater each year until the challenges became so numerous that it was impossible for any team holding the Cup to defend it against all those clubs sending in challenges.

The Canadian Hockey Association was formed in 1914 with branches in the Provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The "Allan Cup" was accepted by the association as the trophy emblematic of the senior amateur hockey championship of Canada.

In 1984, the classification of teams competing for the Allan Cup was changed to Senior AAA.

Allan Cup Winners
1907-08 Ottawa Cliffsides
1908-09 Kingston Queen's University
1909-10 Toronto St. Michael's
1910-11 Winnipeg Victorias
1911-12 Winnipeg Victorias
1912-13 Winnipeg Hockey Club
1913-14 Regina Victorias
1914-15 Winnipeg Monarchs
1915-16 Winnipeg 61st Battalion
1916-17 Toronto Dentals
1917-18 Kitchener Hockey Club
1918-19 Hamilton Tigers
1919-20 Winnipeg Falcons
1920-21 University of Toronto
1921-22 Toronto Granites
1922-23 Toronto Granites
1923-24 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
1924-25 Port Arthur
1925-26 Port Arthur
1926-27 Toronto Varsity Grads
1927-28 University of Manitoba
1928-29 Port Arthur
1929-30 Montreal AAA
1930-31 Winnipeg Hockey Club
1921-32 Toronto Nationals
1932-33 Moncton Hawks
1933-34 Moncton Hawks
1934-35 Halifax Wolverines
1935-36 Kimberley Dynamiters
1936-37 Sudbury Tigers
1937-38 Trail Smoke Eaters
1938-39 Port Arthur
1939-40 Kirkland Lake Blue Devils
1940-41 Regina Rangers
1941-42 Ottawa RCAF
1942-43 Ottawa Commandos
1943-44 Quebec Aces
1944-45 No Competition
1945-46 Calgary Stampeders
1946-47 Montreal Royals
1947-48 Edmonton Flyers
1948-49 Ottawa Senators
1949-50 Toronto Marlboros
1950-51 Owen Sound Mercurys
1951-52 Fort Francis Canadians
1952-53 Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen
1953-54 Penticton V's
1954-55 Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen
1955-56 Vernon Canadians
1956-57 Whitby Dunlops
1957-58 Belleville McFarlands
1958-59 Whitby Dunlops
1959-60 Chatham Maroons
1960-61 Galt Terriers
1961-62 Trail Smoke Eaters
1962-63 Windsor Bulldogs
1963-64 Winnipeg Maroons
1964-65 Sherbrooke Beavers
1965-66 Drumheller Miners
1966-67 Drummondville Eagles
1967-68 Victoriaville Tigers
1968-69 Galt Hornets
1969-70 Spokana Jets
1970-71 Galt Hornets
1971-72 Spokane Jets
1972-73 Orillia Terriers
1973-74 Barrie Flyers
1974-75 Thunder Bay Twins
1975-76 Spokane Flyers
1976-77 Brantford Alexanders
1977-78 Kimberley Dynamiters
1978-79 Petrolia Squires
1979-80 Spokane Flyers
1980-81 Petrolia Squires
1981-82 Cranbrook Royals
1982-83 Cambridge Hornets
1983-84 Thunder Bay Twins
1984-85 Thunder Bay Twins
1985-86 Cornerbrook Royals
1986-87 Brantford Motts
1987-88 Thunder Bay Twins
1988-89 Thunder Bay Twins
1989-90 Chomedy Laval Warriors
1990-91 Charlottetown Islanders
1991-92 Saint John Vito's
1992-93 Whitehorse Huskies
1993-94 Warroad Lakers
1994-95 Warroad Lakers
1995-96 Warroad Lakers
1996-97 Powell River Regals
1997-98 Truro Bearcats
1998-99 Stony Plain Eagles
1999-00 Powell River Regals
2000-01 Lloydminster Border Kings
2001-02 St-Georges Garaga
2002-03 Ile des Chenes North Stars
2003-04 St. Georges Garaga
2004-05 Thunder Bay Bombers
2005-06 Powell River Regals
2006-07 Lloydminster Border Kings
2007-08 Brantford Blast
2008-09 Bentley Generals
2009-10 Fort St. John Flyers
2010-11 Clareaville Caribous
2011-12 South East Prairie Thunder
2012-13 Bentley Generals
2013-14 Dundas Real McCoys
2014-15 South East Prairie Thunder
2015-16 Bentley Generals