The forerunner to the Canadian national midget championship was the Wrigley National Midget Hockey Tournament which ran from 1974 though 1978. Oshawa, Ontario hosted the very first Wrigley tournament. In 1973, prior to Wrigley, the Prince Edward Island provincial government co-sponsored it as part of their "Come Home Year" celebrations.
The Wrigley was an invitational event, with each of Canadian Hockey's branches declaring their respective champions through playdowns held during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The champions were invited to take part in the Wrigley each January, a host team comprised the final competitor.
Each year, the winning team represented Canada in the Soviet Union for a series of games against elite teams, including the Soviet Midget Red Army in Moscow, Leningrad, and Riga. The Verdun Midget Maple Leafs won the first Wrigley championship in 1974, defeating Kingston Gurnsey Realtors of Ontario 5-3. The final game was televised live coast to coast by the CTV Television Network. Media in USSR reported that the last game between the Leafs and the Red Army team in Moscow was viewed by more than 100 million people on Soviet television, although there were only two television channels in Russia at that time. Verdun lost to the National Russian Team, 6-5.
Canada's official national midget championship, the Air Canada Cup, was established in 1979. The inaugural tournament was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba and used a format similar to the Wrigley. Each of Canada's twelve branches determined their champions through their own playoff system. The branch champions advanced to the national tournament to play for the Air Canada Cup.
In 1984, the Air Canada Cup was revised to the current six-team format. Five regional champions, decided by inter-branch competition (branch playoffs in Quebec), and a predetermined host team play a round robin with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals. The winners of the semi-finals advance to the gold medal game, the losers play for the bronze medal. A total of 19 games are played over six days of competition.
After Air Canada's sponsorship ended in 2003, Telus signed on as the new title sponsor and the national championship was rechristened as the Telus Cup in October 2004.
Teams from Saskatchewan and Quebec have been dominate at this event and captured the most medals. The most successful teams include the Notre Dame Hounds, Regina Pat Canadians, Prince Albert Mintos, Lac St-Louis Lions, Richelieu Riverains (now Collège Charles-Lemoyne), and Red Deer Rebels/Chiefs.
All Telus Cup round robin, semi-final, and bronze medal games are streamed live by FASTHockey.com. Each year's gold medal game is televised nationally on TSN (English) and RDS (French).