This league was originally formed on December 9, 1887, as the junior section of the Amateur Hockey Association (AHA), which was the first major hockey league. It was the first junior hockey league in the world.
It kept its name even after the AHA itself changed its name and format, eventually becoming the National Hockey League.
The JAHA was centered around Montreal, although in the early 1900's teams from Ottawa were able to challenge for the league title.
The JAHA was the premier junior league in Quebec. There were other local leagues in the province as well and they did win the provincial title sometimes. However the Quebec champions did very poorly in the Memorial Cup playoffs, making the final series only once in 1940-41.
In 1943-44 the JAHA became the only Junior A league in the province as the other leagues dropped to Junior B.
The name of the league, hoiwever, had become a little silly, especially in a French-speaking province. In 1949 the league changed its name to the more accurate Quebec Junior Hockey League, The world's oldest continually operating hockey league had lost its original name.