clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Memorial Cup for beginners

Learn all about the biggest tournament in Junior Hockey!

2011 CHL Mastercard Memorial Cup Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images

Welcome to Windsor! The 2017 Memorial Cup is about to begin and it has been a highlight of mine on the hockey schedule for years. The annual tournament crowns the national champion for junior hockey in Canada and this year marks the 99th tournament and we have five Tampa Bay Lightning prospects participating.

Where it all began

The Memorial Cup idea was introduced in 1917 when Kingston hockey booster and Ontario Hockey Association (1915-1917) president Captain Liam G. Carr wanted to establish a trophy honouring the former junior players who had died while serving their country. The Ontario Hockey Association voted unanimously in 1918 to help establish the trophy and tournament, and in 1919 the first battle for the cup was held.

Formats through the years

From 1919-1929 the champion was decided by having the best Western Canada team face off against the best Eastern Canada team in a two-game total goals tournament. Each champion was decided by play downs of league champions governed by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association. In 1925 the rules were altered and the format was modified to a best of three series. This continued for another 10 years.

Numbers in parenthesis indicate number of championships won by franchise. New teams that took old names do not count towards these numbers.

Memorial Cup Champions - 1919-33

Year Champion Runner-Up Result Host
Year Champion Runner-Up Result Host
1919 U. of Toronto Schools Regina Patricias 29-8 (Total Goals) Toronto
1920 Toronto Canoe Club Paddlers Selkirk Fishermen 15-5 (TG) Toronto
1921 Winnipeg Junior Falcons Stratford Midgets 11-9 (TG) Toronto
1922 Fort William Great War Vets Regina Patricias 8-7 (TG) Winnipeg
1923 U. of Manitoba Bisons Kitchener Colts 14-6 (TG) Toronto
1924 Owen Sound Greys Calgary Canadians 7-5 (TG) Winnipeg
1925 Regina Pats Toronto aura Lee 2-0 (Best of 3) Toronto
1926 Calgary Canadians Queen's University 2-1 Winnipeg
1927 Owen Sound Greys (2) Port Arthur West End Jrs 2-0 Toronto
1928 Regina Monarchs (Pats - 2) Ottawa Gunners 2-1 Toronto
1929 Toronto Marlboros Elmwood Millionaires 2-0 Toronto
1930 Regina Pats (3) West Toronto Nationals 2-0 Winnipeg
1931 Elmwood Millionaires Ottawa Primroses 2-1 Toronto & Ottawa
1932 Sudbury Club Wolves Winnipeg Monarchs 2-1 Winnipeg
1933 NewMarket Redmen Regina Pats 2-0 Toronto

In 1934 the CAHA divided junior hockey into 'A' and 'B' levels. Only 'A' teams could compete for the Memorial Cup. Jr. B would compete for the Sutherland Cup (which is still ongoing today). In 1938 the championship series became a best of 5, and in 1943 a best of 7. For the 1970-71 season junior hockey had another level added above Jr.A; Major Junior. The Memorial Cup would remain the trophy for the highest tier and Jr A would be awarded the Manitoba Centennial Trophy, now known as the RBC Cup.

Memorial Cup Champions 1934-71

Year Champion Runner-Up Result Host City
Year Champion Runner-Up Result Host City
1934 Toronto St. Michael's Majors Edmonton AC Athletics 2-0 Winnipeg
1935 Winnipeg Monarchs Sudbury Club Wolves 2-1 Winnipeg
1936 West Toronto Nationals Saskatoon Wesleys 2-0 Toronto
1937 Winnipeg Monarchs (2) Copper Cliff Redmen 2-1 Toronto
1938 St. Boniface Seals Oshawa Generals 3-2 Toronto
1939 Oshawa Generals Edmonton AC Roamers 3-1 Toronto
1940 Oshawa Generals (2) Kenora Thistles 3-1 Winnipeg
1941 Winnipeg Rangers Montreal Royals 3-2 Toronto & Montreal
1942 Portage La Prairie Terriers Oshawa Generals 3-1 Winnipeg
1943 Winnipeg Rangers (2) Oshawa Generals 4-2 Toronto
1944 Oshawa Generals (3) Trail Smoke Eaters 4-0 Toronto
1945 Toronto St. Michael's Majors (2) Moose Jaw Canucks 4-1 Toronto
1946 Winnipeg Monarchs (3) Toronto St. Michael's Majors 4-3 Toronto
1947 Toronto St. Michael's Majors (3) Moose Jaw Canucks 4-0 Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Regina
1948 Port Arthur West Wend Bruins Barrie Flyers 4-0 Toronto
1949 Montreal Royals Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3-2001 Winnipeg & Brandon
1950 Montreal Jr Canadiens Regina Pats 4-1 Toronto & Montreal
1951 Barrie Flyers Winnipeg Monarchs 4-0 Toronto, Barrie, Quebec City
1952 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters Regina Pats 4-0 Toronto
1953 Barrie Flyers (2) St. Boniface Canadiens 4-1 Winnipeg & Brandon
1954 St. Catharines Teepees Edmonton Oil Kings 4-0-1 Toronto
1955 Toronto Marlboros (2) Regina Pats 4-1 Regina
1956 Toronto Marlboros (3) Regina Pats 4-0-1 Toronto
1957 Flin Flon Bombers Ottawa-Hull Jr Canadiens 4-3 Flin Flon / Regina
1958 Ottawa-Hull Jr Canadiens (2)
(Montreal Jr Canadiens) Regina Pats 4-2 Ottawa & Hull
1959 Winnipeg Braves Peterborough TPT Petes 4-1 Winnipeg & Brandon
1960 St. Catharines Teepees (2) Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 St. Catharines & Toronto
1961 Toronto St. Michael's Majors (4) Edmonton Oil Kings 4-2 Edmonton
1962 Hamilton Red Wings Edmonton Oil Kings 4-1 Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener
1963 Edmonton Oil Kings Niagara Falls Flyers 4-2 Edmonton
1964 Toronto Marlboros (4) Edmonton Oil Kings 4-0 Toronto
1965 Niagara Falls Flyers Edmonton Oil Kings 4-1 Edmonton
1966 Edmonton Oil Kings (2) Oshawa Generals 4-2 Toronto
1967 Toronto Marlboros (5) Port Arthur Marrs 4-1 Thunder Bay
1968 Niagara Falls Flyers (2) Estevan Bruins 4-1 Niagara Falls & Montreal
1969 Montreal Jr Canadiens (3) Regina Pats 4-0 Montreal & Regina
1970 Montreal Jr Canadiens (4) Weyburn Red Wings 4-0 Montreal
1971 Quebec Remparts Edmonton Oil Kings 2-0 Quebec City

In 1972 we saw the creation of three leagues that continue to govern Major junior hockey today. The Western Hockey League (W), the Ontario Hockey League (O), and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Q). A new format was introduced this season as well. A double round-robin tournament with the top two finishers playing for the Memorial Cup.

Memorial Cup Champions 1972-1982

Year Champion Runner-up Score Third place Host
Year Champion Runner-up Score Third place Host
1972 Cornwall Royals (Q) Peterborough Petes (O) 2-1 Edmonton Oil Kings (W) Ottawa
1973 Toronto Marlboros(O) (6) Quebec Remparts (Q) 9-1 Medicine Hat Tigers (W) Montreal
1974 Regina Pats (W) (3) Quebec Remparts (Q) 7-4 St. Catharines Black Hawks (O) Calgary
1975 Toronto Marlboros(O) (7) New Westminster Bruins (W) 7-3 Sherbrooke Castors (Q) Kitchener
1976 Hamilton Fincups (O) New Westminster Bruins (W) 5-2 Quebec Remparts (Q) Montreal
1977 New Westminster Bruins (W) Ottawa 67's (O) 6-5 Sherbrooke Castors (Q) Vancouver
1978 New Westminster Bruins (W) (2) Peterborough Petes (O) 7-4 Trois-Rivières Draveurs (Q) Sudbury & Sault Ste. Marie
1979 Peterborough Petes (O) Brandon Wheat Kings (W) 2-1 (OT) Trois-Rivières Draveurs (Q) Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Verdun
1980 Cornwall Royals (Q) (2) Peterborough Petes (O) 3-2 (OT) Regina Pats (W) Brandon & Regina
1981 Cornwall Royals (Q) (3) Kitchener Rangers (O) 5-2 Victoria Cougars (W) Windsor
1982 Kitchener Rangers (O) Sherbrooke Castors (Q) 7-4 Portland Winter Hawks (W) Hull

In 1983 it was decided to allow the host city enter a team (H). The host city cycles between the three leagues. In some cases the host team was not found good enough to play for the Memorial Cup and withdrew, allowing the league's runner-up to play in the tournament. If the League champion is the host team, the runner-up will be the League representative. The top team after the round robin advances to the Championship game. 2nd and 3rd place will play in a semi-final game. If there is a tie for any position the tie breaker game is played before the semi-final.

In 1987 the OHL decided to hold a tournament between the two regular season conference champions before the playoffs to determine the host. Oshawa won this tournament and the OHL championship so they were the only OHL representative.

These days to win the rights to host the tournament you must impress your league with your arena, your city's ability to handle the influx of media, fans, and teams. Be a media friendly environment, and show your team will be competitive in the seasons leading up to the tournament.

This addition has been controversial to some Jr hockey fans. If the host team is eliminated early they are given extra weeks of rest, healing time, and practice, as well as a home ice advantage while the other teams are playing weeks more hockey and travelling across the country.

Memorial Cup Champions 1983-2016

Year Champion Runner-Up Score Other Teams
Year Champion Runner-Up Score Other Teams
1983 Portland Winter Hawks (H) Oshawa Generals (O) 8-3 Lethbridge Broncos (W), Verdun Juniors (Q)
1984 Ottawa 67's (O) Kitchener Rangers (H) 7-2 Laval Voisons (Q) Kamloops Jr Oilers (W)
1985 Prince Albert Raiders (W) Shawinigan Cataracts (H) 6-1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Verdun Jr Canadiens (Q)
1986 Guelph Platers (O) Hull Olympiques (Q) 6-2 Kamloops Blazers (W), Portland Winter Hawks (H)
1987 Medicine Hat Tigers (W) Oshawa Generals (H, O) 6-2 Longueuil Chevaliers (Q)
1988 Medicine Hat Tigers (W) (2) Windsor Spitfires (O) 7-6 Drummondville Voltiguers (Q), Hull Olympiques (Q) - Host Chicoutimi did not participate
1989 Swift Current Broncos (W) Saskatoon Blades (H) 4-3 (OT) Laval Titan (Q), Peterborough Petes (O)
1990 Oshawa Generals (O) Kitchener Rangers (O) 4-3 (OT) Laval Titan (Q), Kamloops Blazers (W) - Host Hamilton Dukes did not participate
1991 Spokane Chiefs (W) Drummondville Voltiguers (Q) 5-1 Chicoutimi Saguenéens (Q) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (O) - Host Beauport Harfangs did not participate
1992 Kamloops Blazers (W) Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (O) 5-4 Seattle Thunderbirds (H), Verdun Collège Français (Q)
1993 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (H) Peterborough Petes (O) 4-2 Laval Titan (Q), Swift Current Broncos (W)
1994 Kamloops Blazers (W) (2) Laval Titan (H) 5-3 Chicoutimi Saguenéens (Q), North Bay Centennials (O)
1995 Kamloops Blazers (H) (3) Detroit Jr Red Wings (O) 8-2 Brandon Wheat Kings (W), Hull Olympiques (Q)
1996 Granby Prédateurs (Q) Peterborough Petes (H) 4-0 Brandon Wheat Kings (W), Guelph Storm (O)
1997 Hull Olympiques (H) Lethbridge Hurricanes (W) 5-1 Chicoutimi Saguenéens (Q), Oshawa Generals (O)
1998 Portland Winter Hawks (W) (2) Guelph Storm (O) 4-3 (OT) Spokane Chiefs (H), Val-d'Or Foreurs (Q)
1999 Ottawa 67's (H) (2) Calgary Hitmen (W) 7-6 (OT) Acadie–Bathurst Titan (Q), Belleville Bulls (O)
2000 Rimouski Océanic (Q) Barrie Colts (O) 6-2 Halifax Mooseheads (H), Kootenay Ice (W)
2001 Red Deer Rebels (W) Val-d'Or Foreurs (Q) 6-5 (OT) Regina Pats (H), Ottawa 67's (O)
2002 Kootenay Ice (W) Victoriaville Tigres (Q) 6-3 Erie Otters (O), Guelph Storm (H)
2003 Kitchener Rangers (O) (2) Hull Olympiques (Q) 6-3 Kelowna Rockets (W), Quebec Remparts (H)
2004 Kelowna Rockets (H) Gatineau Olympiques (Q) 2-1 Guelph Storm, Medicine Hat Tigers (W)
2005 London Knights (H) Rimouski Océanic (Q) 4-0 Kelowna Rockets (W) Ottawa 67's (O)
2006 Quebec Remparts (Q) Moncton Wildcats (H) 6-2 Peterborough Petes (O), Vancouver giants (W)
2007 Vancouver Giants (H) Medicine Hat Tigers (W) 3-1 Lewiston Maineiacs (Q), Plymouth Whalers (O)
2008 Spokane Chiefs (W) (2) Kitchener Rangers (H) 4-1 Belleville Bulls (O), Gatineau Olympiques (Q)
2009 Windsor Spitfires (O) Kelowna Rockets (W) 4-1 Drummonville Voltigeurs (Q), Rimouski Océanic (H)
2010 Windsor Spitfires (O) (2) Brandon Wheat Kings (H) 9-1 Moncton Wildcats (Q), Calgary Hitmen (W)
2011 Saint John Seadogs (Q) Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (H) 3-1 Owen Sound Attack (O), Kootenay Ice (W)
2012 Shawinigan Cataracts (H) London Knights (O) 2-1 (OT) Edmonton Oil Kings, Saint John Seadogs (Q)
2013 Halifax Mooseheads (Q) Portland Winter Hawks (W) 6-4 London Knights (O), Saskatoon Blades (W)
2014 Edmonton Oil Kings (W) Guelph Storm (O) 6-3 Val D'Or Foreurs, London Knights (H)
2015 Oshawa Generals (O) (5) Kelowna Rockets (W) 2-1 (OT) Rimouski Oceanic (Q), Quebec Remparts (H)
2016 London Knights (O) (2) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (Q) 3-2 (OT) Brandon Wheat Kings (W), Red Deer Rebels (H)

Controversies

Not everything goes to plan, and below we can find some of the more interesting stories from the tournament.

1971 Memorial Cup Qualifying - St. Catharines vs Quebec City

When there was the East vs West format the best of the East would play for the Richardson Cup. In 1971 it looked to be a great series between the Quebec Remparts led by Guy Lafluer against the St. Catharines Black Hawks led by Marcel Dionne. It was never quite what was expected on ice, as Anglophone/Francophone tensions were high at the time and Marcel Dionne was seen as a bit of a traitor, leaving Quebec when the QMJHL was formed to play in the OHL, seen as a superior league at the time. The Remparts were coached by Maurice Fillon, Dionne's coach in Jr A, and was said to vow revenge for Marcel leaving to play in Ontario. After two games in St. Catharines the series was tied 1-1. Quebec took game 3 3-1 and the Black Hawks received 77 minutes in penalties to Quebec's 25. Game 4 was much uglier. With a Guy Lafluer hat trick the Remparts went up 6-1 and the Black Hawks began playing what would be known as "good ol' Ontariah boy" hockey. Remparts fans began throwing "potatoes, tomatoes, bolts from seats, eggs, golf balls, erasers embedded with nails and at least one knife" onto the St. Catharines bench. After the game the Black Hawks were given a police escort to their bus, which was then attacked by a mob throwing bottles. The Black Hawks hotel would be circled all night by Remparts fans. Game 5 of the series was moved to a neutral site in Toronto and St. Catharines would take the game 6-3. With the series due back in Quebec, parents of St. Catharines players refused to allow the game to return to Quebec City, but the Remparts refused to play on neutral ice anywhere in Quebec. Adding to the Black Hawks concern were reported threats coming from the FLQ. With St. Catharines refusing to play in Quebec City for fear of their safety the CAHA head declared Quebec City the winner by forfeit and the Remparts would go on to win the Memorial Cup over the Edmonton Oil Kings. The Remparts and Black Hawks would meet again in the 1974 Memorial Cup semi-finals, with Quebec winning 11-3.

1980 Memorial Cup - The Petes threw the game?

The Peterborough Petes have a long history of losing the Memorial Cup. They had won only 1 of 4 appearances in variations of qualifying to date. In 1979 they won their only Memorial Cup and made a record tying third straight appearance as the OHL team playing for the Memorial Cup - also done by the original Toronto St. Michael's Majors and the London Knights (though London only made the third one by hosting).

The Petes wanted to win back-to-back cups and had a rookie head coach by the name of Mike Keenan. Their 1979 cup winning coach Gary Green moved on to the Washington Capitals. The scenario is the Petes have clinched first place with a 3-0 record and if they beat the Cornwall Royals (sitting with 1-2) they'd play the Regina Pats (1-3), in Regina. This wasn't what the Petes wanted. They wanted an easier game without the background noise of a home crowd.

So, while up 4-1 over Cornwall a miracle happened. The Cornwall Royals would come back from that deficit to score 4 straight goals and win the game and a spot in the finals against Peterborough. "Soon, the fans began throwing things -- toilet paper, programs, soft drinks -- at the Petes. There was a 15-minute delay before play could be resumed and that only happened with the arrival of some Regina city policemen."

Up to that game the Petes had been on a 14 game post-season winning streak. The Petes Dropping a 4-1 lead led many to assume they threw the game to face Cornwall in the final, because it's astronomical odds to drop a lead like that. The Petes got their comeuppance however, as Cornwall would take the championship 3-2 in Overtime. The Petes have appear in 5 more Memorial Cups since then, but never won another since 1979.

2000 Memorial Cup - Barrie Colts

Oh boy. This is......this team was something. You can click here to read Sunaya Sapurji's recollection of the 2000 Barrie Colts. The Barrie Colts were trying to be the Charlestown Chiefs all season and things didn't end at the Memorial Cup.

Matt Passfield and Jordan Brenner were caught scalping their tickets to games, there were the "Brampton Boys" (Sheldon Keefe, Mike Jefferson - now Mike Danton - and Ryan Barnes) led by David Frost, who orchestrated a team walk out in the middle of CHL president David Branches banquet speech and refused to shake hands with Branch in faceoffs or stand on the blue line for ceremonies, and when they are fined $5,000 for their actions Sheldon Keefe had this to say:

"If I thought it was a mistake I wouldn't have done it."

Those are the highlights. Really, I don't want to copy and past Sunaya's article, go read that.

Memorial Cup Record Holders

These are taken from the Memorial Cup website, which does not seem to take into account pre-round robin tournaments.

Most Memorial Cups Won - Player

3 - Ryan Huska, Tyson Nash, Darcy Tucker - Kamloops (1992, '94, '95)
3 - Robert Savard - Cornwall (1980, '81) Kitchener (1982)

Most Memorial Cups Won - Coach

3 - Don Hay - Kamloops (1994, '95) Vancouver (2007)

Most Memorial Cups Won - Franchise

7 - Toronto Marlboros (1929, '55, '56, '64, '67, '73, '75)
(note: this franchise is now the Guelph Storm)

Most Memorial Cup Appearances - Franchise

10 - Edmonton Oil Kings (1951-76 franchise)

Most Goals - Single Game

5 - Bruce Boudreau, Toronto (May 9, 1975 vs Sherbrooke) - 10-4 win

Most Goals - Single Tournament

8 - Dale Hawerchuk, Cornwall (1981), Luc Robitaille, Hull (1986), Pat Falloon, Spokane (1991)

Most Assists - Single Game

5 - Dan Hodgson, Prince Albert (May 14, 1985 vs Sault Ste. Marie) - 8-6 win

Most Assists - Single Tournament

13 - Dan Hodgson, Prince Albert (1985)

Most Points - Single Game

6 - Joe Contini, Hamilton (May 12, 1976 vs New Westminster - 3 G, 3 A) - 8-4 win
6 - Guy Rouleau, Hull (May 10, 1986 vs Portland - 3 G, 3 A) - 7-5 win
6 - Guy Rouleau, Hull (May 16, 1986 vs Kamloops - 2 G, 4 A) - 9-3 win
6 - Mike Mathers, Kamloops (May 16, 1992 vs Seattle - 3 G, 3 A) - 8-3 win

Most Points - Single Tournament

16 - Jeff Larmer, Kitchener (1982), Guy Rouleau, Hull (1986)

Since it's not the '80's and teams have learned the value of goalies and playing defence, I doubt these records are in any danger.


Below is the schedule for this year’s tournament, games with Lightning prospects are in bold. You can watch all of the games on CHL Live around the world, on the NHL Network in the US, and broadcast on Sportsnet and TVA Sports nationally in Canada.

Round-Robin Game 1 – Saint John vs. Windsor on Friday May 19 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 2 – Erie vs. Seattle on Saturday May 20 at 3:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 3 – Windsor vs. Seattle on Sunday May 21 at 7:00 pm

Round-Robin Game 4 – Erie vs. Saint John on Monday May 22 at 7:00 pm
Prospects vs prospects. This is a must watch game.

Round-Robin Game 5 – Seattle vs. Saint John on Tuesday May 23 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 6 – Windsor vs. Erie on Wednesday May 24 at 7:00 pm

Tie-Breaker (if necessary) – Thursday May 25 at 7:00 pm
Semi-Final – Friday May 26 at 7:00 pm
Championship Final – Sunday May 28 at 7:00pm


I hope all Lightning fans can at least catch the Saint John vs Erie game., and I hope this long, long, long, piece on the Memorial Cup tournament has been helpful. It all begins tomorrow night with the Saint John Sea Dogs taking on the host team Windsor Spitfires.