Amateur Hockey Association of Canada
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1886
Inaugural season 1887
No. of teams {{{teams}}}
Country(ies) Canada
Ceased 1898
Last champion(s) Montreal Victorias
Most championship(s) Montreal Hockey Club

The Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) was an amateur league founded in 1886, in existence until 1898. It was the second ice hockey league organized in Canada, after one in Kingston, Ontario started in 1883. It was organized to provide a longer season to determine the Canadian champion. Prior to its founding the Canadian championship was determined in a tournament in Montreal.

The 1893 champion of the league, Montreal Hockey Club was the first winner of the Stanley Cup, who were awarded the Cup as the champions of the AHAC since the AHAC was considered the top league of Canada.

History Edit


The AHAC was born on December 8, 1886 when the representatives:

  • Messrs. J. G. Monk, J. Arnton and J. Muir, Montreal Victorias
  • Thomas D. Green and Hamilton, Ottawa
  • C. H. Macnutt, Holden and Wylde, of McGill College
  • E. Sheppard and Bill Barlow, of the Montreal AAA
  • R. Laing and McCaffrey, of the Crystals

of various hockey clubs met at the Victoria Skating Rink in Montreal at the instigation of the Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal. The first executive was composed of:

  • President -- Mr. Thomas D. Green, Ottawa.
  • First Vice-president -- Mr. J. Arnton, Victorias.
  • Second Vice-President -- Mr. R. Laing, Crystals.
  • Secretary-treasurer -- Mr. E. Stevenson, Victorias.
  • Council -- Messrs. James Stewart, Crystals; J. G. Monk, Victorias; H. A. Budden, McGill; E. Sheppard, M.A.A.A., and Percy Myles, Ottawa.

They agreed that the season should run from the 1st of January until the 15th of March. The constitution would be adapted from a lacrosse league constitution.

The teams knew each other. They had competed at four prior tournaments held in Montreal:

  • 1883 - Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament (winner McGill) The trophy for this tournament is on display at the Musee McCord Museum in Montreal.
  • 1884 - Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament (winner Victorias),
  • 1885 - Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament (winner Montreal),
  • 1886 - Dominion Championship The 1886 Montreal Winter Carnival was cancelled due to a smallpox epidemic in Montreal. Crystals was awarded the trophy, when the Quebec team could not finish due to the Crystals' rough tactics.

The gameEdit

In that age, ice hockey was a very different game compared to today: the AHAC rules stated that there were six skaters on each side. These were defined as:

  • left wing
  • centre
  • right wing
  • rover
  • point
  • coverpoint

The left wing, centre and right wing were the forwards, like today. The rover would line up behind the centre, with the point and coverpoint following, in an 'I' formation towards the goaltender. The face offs were at a right angle to today's practice, the centre men facing inwards from the sides of the rink. The goaltenders used no special equipment.

There were no goal nets. The goals were two posts, with no crossbar. An umpire would judge the legality of each score. There were no boards along the sides of the ice, and there were no standard dimensions for a rink, although dimensions were instituted for the positioning of the goal out from the ends of the rink.

A match was two halves of thirty minutes (also to note that in the day, game meant goal by modern definition). Sudden-death overtime was also in place, and a match would continue until a goal was scored in the event of a tie after regulation.

Players in all positions would normally play the entire 60 minutes.

Official Rules of the AHACEdit

  1. The captains of contesting teams shall agree upon two umpires (one to be stationed at each goal) and a referee.
  2. All questions as to games shall be settled by the umpires and their decision shall be final.
  3. All disputes on the ice shall be settled by the referee, and his decision shall be final.
  4. The game shall be commenced and renewed by a bully in the centre of the rink. Goals, six feet wide and four feet high, which shall be changed after each game, unless otherwise agreed.
  5. When a player hits a puck, anyone of the same side who at such moment of hitting is nearer the opponent's goal line is out of play and may not touch the puck himself, or in any way prevent any other player from doing so until the puck has been played. A player must always be on his own side of the ball.
  6. The puck may be stopped, but not carried or knocked on, by any part of the body. No player shall raise his stick above his shoulder. Charging from behind, tripping, collaring, kicking or shinning, shall not be allowed, and any player after having been twice warned by the referee, it shall become his duty to rule the player off for that match.
  7. When the puck gets off the ice behind the goals it shall be taken by the referee to five yards at right angles from the goal line and there faced. When the puck goes off the ice at the sides it shall be taken by the referee at five yards at right angles from the boundary line and there faced.
  8. The goal keeper must not, during play, lie, kneel or sit upon the ice, but must maintain a standing position.
  9. Hockey sticks shall not be more than three inches wide at any point.
  10. Goal shall be scored when the puck shall have passed between the goal posts and below the top and passed from in front below an imaginary line across the top of posts.
  11. The puck must be made of vulcanized rubber, one inch thick all through, and three inches in diameter.
  12. A team shall be composed of seven players who shall be bona fide members of the club they represent. No player shall be allowed to play on more than one team during a season except in a case of a bona fide change of residence.
  13. Two half hours with an intermission of ten minutes between will be time allowed for matches. A match will be decided by the team winning the greatest number of games during that time. In case of a tie after playing the specified two half hours, play will continue until one side secures a game, unless otherwise agreed upon between the captains before the match.
  14. No change of players must be made after a match has commenced except for reasons of accidents or injury during the game.
  15. Should any player be injured during a match and compelled to leave the field his side shall have the option of putting on a spare man from the reserve to equalize the teams; in the event of any dispute between the captains as to the injured player's fitness to continue the game the matter shall at once be decided by the referee.
  16. Should a game be temporarily stopped, by the infringement of any of the rules the puck shall be brought back and a bully take place.

Seasons FormatEdit

The AHAC operated on two different systems in its lifetime: the challenge system, where a championship team would face a new challenger each week for the championship, and the series system, which corresponds to the regular season found in the NHL today. With the exception of 1888, the challenge system was exclusively used in the AHAC before the advent of the Stanley Cup, while the series system became the norm in 1893, the first year the Cup was contested.

The first championship team of the AHAC was the Montreal Crystals, having unofficially being declared the champions before the AHAC. The first title change occurred on January 14, 1887, when the Montreal Victorias defeated the champions 4–0. The Victorias would hold the title until the very last challenge game, when the Crystals won 3–2 in their third successive challenge. Because of the Vics' long run as champions, it was decided to switch to the series system in 1888.

The series system was a success, although a tie atop the standings between the Vics and the Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal HC), and the subsequent scheduling of the tiebreaker game caused much trouble when the game was scheduled at a time when two Victorias players were injured, at the home venue of the Montreal HC. However, teams from outside Montreal incurred huge travelling expenses, which led the AHAC to revert back to the challenge system.

First Stanley CupEdit

In 1893, the first year since 1888 where the AHAC played under a series system, the Montreal Hockey Club lost their first game against the Ottawa Hockey Club, and proceeded to win their next seven en route to the championship. Lord Stanley announced that his challenge trophy (later known simply as the Stanley Cup) for the best amateur hockey team in Canada would be presented to the Montreal Hockey Club on May 15, 1893, as initial champion. At the time, the Montreal Hockey Club was in a dispute with its parent organization, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA). The hockey club was adamant about refusing the trophy, while the directors of the MAAA decided to accept the trophy, considering it came from the Governor General of Canada. Thus, the trophy was accepted by the MAAA, but with none of the hockey officials of the hockey club present.

After accepting the trophy, the hockey club remained adamant about returning the trophy that was presented to them. In the end, the MAAA investigated into why its hockey club wanted to refuse and return the trophy, even though such an action would damage the reputation of the MAAA. It was believed that the people who were in charge of running their team were, in fact, not representative of the team itself, and when the hockey club asked for a loan of $175 in start-up expenses for the 1894 season, it was flatly refused (the first time the MAAA refused anything to the hockey club). Inexplicably, the hockey club reversed its position, and the next few months saw a gradual schism between the MAAA and the club. Indeed, the inscriptions on the Cup when it was successfully defended in 1894 only stated "Montreal HC". The MAAA, at one point, considered the hockey club to have seceded from the organization that bore them. The issue would be finally resolved in later years, after various attempts at reconciliation.


Senior Division.
Season Teams Champion
1887 McGill HC, Montreal HC, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC Montreal Crystals (final challenge)
1888 McGill HC, Montreal HC, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias Montreal HC (final challenge)
1888–89 Halifax(Dartmouth) Chebuctos, Montreal HC, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias, Quebec HC Montreal HC (final challenge)
1890 Montreal HC, Montreal Dominions, Montreal Victorias, Quebec HC Montreal HC (final challenge)
1891 Montreal HC, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC Montreal HC (final challenge)
1892 Montreal Britannias, Montreal HC, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC, Quebec HC Montreal HC (final challenge)
1893 Montreal HC†, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal HC (best record)
1894 Montreal HC†, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal HC (playoff)
1895 Montreal HC, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias†, Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal Victorias (best record)
1896 Montreal HC, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias, Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal Victorias (best record)
1897 Montreal HC, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias† (December 1896), Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal Victorias (best record)
1898 Montreal HC, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias†, Ottawa HC and Quebec HC Montreal Victorias (best record)

† Stanley Cup winner

See alsoEdit

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Amateur Hockey Association of Canada. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).

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