There were two previous Barrie Colts team which played Junior A & B hockey in the Ontario Hockey Association, one from 1907 until 1910 and another from the 1920s to 1940s.
The first Barrie Colts played in the junior division of the OHA from 1907 until 1910, prior to the creation of junior A and B levels. One notable alumni is Gordon Meeking who played for the Ottawa Senators and Toronto 228th of the National Hockey Association (NHA) and later in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA).
The Barrie Colts were revived in 1921 and played in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1921 to 1944. The club started out as a Junior-B team, then were promoted to Junior-A around the start of World War II. The Junior B Colts won the Sutherland Cup Championship in 1934–35. One of its original players was Leighton "Hap" Emms. Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Harry Lumley played for this team in 1942–43. Other NHL alumni include Ab DeMarco and Jack Dyte.
The Belleville Bulls started in 1979 as a Junior Tier II team in the OHA. In their second season in 1980–81, the Bulls won the Tier II title, defeating the Guelph Platers in the league finals. The Bulls then competed in the national championship for the Manitoba Centennial Trophy hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia losing in the finals to the Prince Albert Raiders.
On February 2, 1981 the OHL granted an expansion franchise to the city of Belleville and the ownership group of Dr. Robert L. Vaughan & Bob Dolan. Dr. Robert L. Vaughan remained an owner/co-owner of the team for over 20 years until he sold the team in 2004 to Gord Simmonds. Dr. Vaughan was awarded the Bill Long award in 1993 for distinguished service to the OHL.
In 1983 Belleville hosted the OHL All-Star Game, known then as the OHL Chrysler Cup.
The Bulls reached the OHL finals in 1986 versus familiar foe from their Tier II days, the Guelph Platers. The Platers won the series in 6 games. In 1995 and 1996 the Bulls lost in the semi-finals to the Guelph Storm.
The 1999 season would be one for the memories when the Belleville Bulls would win it all. The Bulls defeated the London Knights 9–2 in game seven of the OHL championship series at the Yardmen Arena to win their first J. Ross Robertson Cup.
The Bulls competed in the 1999 Memorial Cup, hosted in Ottawa versus the Calgary Hitmen, Acadie-Bathurst Titan & Ottawa 67's. Belleville finished 3rd, losing to Ottawa 4–2 in the semifinal.
In the 2005–06 season the Belleville Bulls celebrated their 25th anniversary in the OHL. The team also hosted the annual OHL All-Star game for the second time, on February 1, 2006. The Bulls set a season-best record of 102 points earned during the 2007–08 regular season.
In 2007–08 the Bulls made a trip to the Memorial Cup by virtue of Kitchener winning the Western Conference, and being the host, Belleville would get in as the OHL representative. The Bulls would lose the semi-final game 9-0 against the hosting team, the Kitchener Rangers, who would eventually lose to the Spokane Chiefs in the championship game
The Brampton Battalion were granted an expansion franchise on December 3, 1996. Major Junior A hockey had returned to Brampton since 1963, when the Brampton 7Ups played in the Metro Junior A League before returning to the Junior B level.
Brampton was part of the return of major junior hockey to the Greater Toronto Area in the late 1990s that included the Mississauga IceDogs and the revived Toronto St. Michael's Majors. In 2005, team owner Scott Abbott was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame for his work in building the franchise.
The Battalion began play for the 1998–99 OHL season in the Midwest Division of the Western Conference. The Battalion played their first game on September 24, 1998 losing to the host Peterborough Petes by a 5-1 score. Jason Maleyko scored the first goal in club history. The Battalion played their first game at the Powerade Centre on October 9, 1998 losing to the Kitchener Rangers by a score of 5-1. The first win in club history would come on October 18 when the troops beat the visiting Sudbury Wolves 5-4. The first season on the ice didn't go so well however as the Battalion finished the season with only 8 wins, 57 losses, and 3 ties for last in the Western Conference and 19th in the league ahead of only the Mississauga Ice Dogs.
During the 2002 off season the North Bay Centennials were bought and moved to Saginaw, Michigan to become the Spirit and thus leaving the East and West unbalanced so the Battalion were moved to the Eastern Conference and given North Bay’s former spot in the Central Division. Once again the Battalion surged above the .500 mark finishing with a 34-24-10 record good enough to win their first Division Championship in franchise history beating the Toronto St. Michaels Majors by only 2 points. During the 2003 playoffs the Battalion started what would eventually become a rivalry with the Barrie Colts defeating the Colts in the first round in six games. The second round would see the top two in the Division as the Battalion faced Toronto. Brampton started off the series well beating Toronto in game 1 by a 7-0 score. However Toronto eventually proved to much for Brampton as the Majors would win four straight and take the series in only 5 games.
The Niagara Falls Thunder relocated from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Erie in 1996, becoming the Erie Otters. The team takes its name from the otter, a water creature common to the south shore of Lake Erie.
The Otters' ownership partners are Ron Sertz, Jeff Fatica, and Ray Irwin. Sherwood Bassin is the general manager and a managing partner of the team. Walt Wingfield serves as head scout.
The first three years in Erie were building years for the Otters, with the team eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each year. In the fourth year, all the hard work paid off with their first Midwest Division championship.
It would be their first of three consecutive Midwest Division championships for the Otters, culminating in an OHL Championship in 2001–02. Dave MacQueen won the Matt Leyden Trophy in 2000–01 as the OHL Coach of the Year. Sherwood Bassin was awarded OHL Executive of the Year in 2001–02 for his role in building a championship team as general manager.
The Erie Otters celebrated their 10th anniversary in the 2005–06 season.
The Otters celebrated their 1000th regular season game in franchise history on February 5, 2011 with an 8-2 win against the Windsor Spitfires in front of a crowd of 5,417 at Louis J. Tullio Arena.
The franchise started as the Toronto Marlboros, who moved to Hamilton to become the Dukes of Hamilton in 1989. Following the 1990–91 season, the franchise was relocated to Guelph and renamed the Storm.
The first year in Guelph was dismal, but the building process for Guelph was soon successful. The Storm finished first place in the 1994–95 season. General Manager Mike Kelly was voted the OHL Executive of the Year and Craig Hartsburg voted the Coach of the Year for the Canadian Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League. Draft picks from the early years in Guelph include Jeff O'Neill and Todd Bertuzzi.
Guelph reached the OHL finals in 1995 and 1996. The team qualified for the 1996 Memorial Cup by playing against the Memorial Cup host Peterborough Petes in the OHL final.
The Storm won their first J. Ross Robertson Cup in 1998. This success continued into the Memorial Cup Tournament as the Storm rallied to the Championship Game where they lost to the Portland Winter Hawks in overtime in the final game.
In the year 2000, the team moved from the historic but aging Guelph Memorial Gardens into the Guelph Sports and Entertainment Centre (since renamed the Sleeman Centre). The Storm were selected to host the 2002 Memorial Cup tournament. It marked the team's third appearance in the national junior championship, their first as host team.
Two years later, the Storm won their second OHL Championship, and returned to the 2004 Memorial Cup hosted in Kelowna, British Columbia.
The 2005–06 season was the team's 15th season as the Storm. They celebrated their 20th season this past 2010-11 season.
In the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, defenceman Drew Doughty was selected 2nd overall by the Los Angeles Kings, the highest ever selection of a Guelph Storm player.
Team history predates the OHA, back to 1945, to a team known as the Kingston Victorias. This franchise was founded in the OHA in 1973–74, then known as the Kingston Canadians until 1987–88. The team was briefly known as the Kingston Raiders in 1988–89, and as the Frontenacs ever since.
In 1952, the Kingston Victoria were renamed the Kingston Frontenacs. This team played at the Junior B level, then later at the Junior A level. This Frontenacs team lost in the 1963 Sutherland Cup final to the St. Marys Lincolns, 4 games to 1.
The Kingston Canadians arrival in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) for the 1973–74 season, was a result of the Montreal Junior Canadiens switch to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) in 1972. During the summer of 1972, the QMJHL had threatened a lawsuit against the OHA to force the Junior Canadiens to return to the Quebec-based league. To solve the problem, the OHA granted the Junior Canadiens franchise a "one-year suspension" of operations, while team ownership transferred the team and players into the QMJHL, renaming themselves the Montreal Bleu Blanc Rouge in the process.
Following a change in ownership the club was renamed Kingston Raiders for one season in 1988–89. Due to ownership problems, the team was sold again following that season. In 1989, the new ownership, including Wren Blair and Bob Attersley, renamed the team Kingston Frontenacs after the Eastern Professional Hockey League team of which they had both been members. The uniforms and logos were revived from the old franchise. The city embraced and welcolmed the new ownership. Wren Blair and Bob Attersley were both hockey legends in their own right. In 1997 Wren Blair would be honoured with the Bill Long Award for distinguished service in the OHL. The club was sold to the Springer family of Kingston in June 1998, with Doug Springer becoming the Owner and Governor.
The Kingston franchise has the second-longest championship drought in the OHL (second to the Sudbury Wolves by one year), and the fourth-longest in the Canadian Hockey League. The lone division title won by the Frontenacs was in the 1994–95 season where the team won the OHL East Division, represented by the Leyden Trophy. In the 1992–93 OHL season, the Frontenacs lost the conference final to Peterborough.
The Rangers are a publicly owned hockey team, governed by a 40-person Board of Directors made up of season ticket subscribers. The Rangers hosted the 2008 Memorial Cup tournament.
The roots of the Kitchener Rangers are traced back to the 1947–48 hockey season when the franchise was formed as the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters. In 1960 the "Biltmores" as they were often called became the Guelph Royals. At the end of the 1962–63 season, a local business entrepreneur named Eugene George was approached by the New York Rangers about moving the team to Kitchener in hopes of building a more stable junior environment.
The team moved into the Kitchener Auditorium for the start of the 1963–64 season, which had previously been home to the Kitchener Greenshirts and the Kitchener Canucks. The Rangers were successful promoting the team in the community, drawing high attendance despite a poor first season. By 1968 the Rangers were a first place team that had reached the league finals twice.
When the National Hockey League collectively ended sponsorship of junior teams, the New York Rangers then offered the team to Eugene George for $1.00, a token receipt to assume the financial and overall responsibility of the team from then on. George, realizing the community importance of the Kitchener Rangers, instead turned the team over to the community; in essence, to its season ticket subscribers. The Rangers became a publicly owned team. George and fellow colleagues strategically set up a volunteer Directorship, which included key Executives, which still holds true today (among all eligible season ticket subscribers). The Rangers are backboned today by their unique strategy; a 40-person Board of Directors to which 9 Executive positions are elected as key duties including Finances, Policies, Charities, and a Hockey Committee among others.
The Kitchener Rangers have appeared in the Memorial Cup tournament six times, winning twice. Kitchener has also won the J. Ross Robertson Cup four times, won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy seven times, and have won seven division titles
The team was founded as an Ontario Hockey Association junior A team in 1965 as the London Nationals. Prior to 1965, the team's history dated back to the early 1950s, playing in the Western Junior B league out of the Ontario Arena at the Western Fairgrounds. They won the Western Junior B title in 1952 as the London Lou Ball Juniors, after sponsor Lou Ball's clothing store. In 1963 the Toronto Maple Leafs began sponsoring the team, by now called the Nationals.
In 1968, businessman Howard Darwin bought the London Nationals (he also owned the Ottawa 67's) as the era of NHL sponsorship of junior hockey ended. Darwin wanted to give a fresh look to the team, and so held a contest to rename the team. Londoner Brian Logie suggested the name Knights, and the team's colours were changed to green, white and gold. In 1970 the team also hired trainer Don Brankley, who stayed with the team until retiring at the end of the 2007–08 season. The team grew from a chronic also-ran in the late 1960s and early 1970s to a contender near the end of the decade. The highlight of the Darwin era came in 1976–77, when a powerful Knights team led by future NHLers Rob Ramage, Brad Marsh and Dino Ciccarelli defeated the St. Catharines Fincups in the conference final on an overtime goal by Dan Eastman to advance to the OHL final against the 67's. However, the 67's were triumphant in six games in the league final. In the early 1980s the Knights descended to a nadir in franchise history, with small crowds and a poor record. However, right winger Brendan Shanahan would soon rise to prominence and help to draw larger crowds.
In 1986 Howard Darwin sold the Knights and the arena to Paris, Ontario businessmen Jack Robillard, Al Martin and Bob Willson. The trio also owned the Hamilton Steelhawks. The Knights were sold for a dollar but the London Gardens was sold at market value. The new ownership group modernized the team's logo and renovated the Gardens. Under their stewardship the Knights would go on a run of success. Between 1987 and 1993 the team would finish no lower than third in the Emms Division, including a division title in 1989–90. However, regular season success did not translate into playoff success, as the Knights would never make the league final in these years.
In 1994 the Knights were sold to St. Thomas, Ontario, real estate developer Doug Tarry, Sr.. He died before the team had played a game under his ownership, and the team was inherited by his son, Doug Tarry, Jr.. Upon taking command, Tarry carried out further renovations on the Gardens including a name change to the "London Ice House." He also alienated a fair portion of the team's fan base by changing the team's uniforms from traditional green and gold to eggplant and teal, similar to that of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and changing the logo to a cartoonish Spider-Man caricature, instantly and derisively nicknamed "Spiderknight" by the faithful. The 1995–96 OHL season went down in history as the worst in the history of the Canadian Hockey League. The Knights set a new record for futility by winning only three games all season in sixty-six tries, finishing with nine points and a 3-60-3 record. The years following the so-called "Knightmare" season were improved, but the team was still a long way from the league's upper echelon. Meanwhile, the Ice House was falling apart as the Tarry family had stopped putting money into it as a part of their lobbying the city of London for a new arena. However, the re-signing of former Head Coach Gary Agnew, and the signing of future NHLers Rico Fata and Tom Kostopoulos heralded a marked turnaround for the team's fortunes. In 1999, the Knights went on an unexpected playoff run, in which they defeated the number-one-in-the-CHL Plymouth Whalers in seven games in the quarterfinals and ultimately went all the way to the OHL championship, which they lost in seven games to the Belleville Bulls.
In 2000, former NHL players Dale Hunter and Mark Hunter bought the Knights from Doug Tarry Jr. brokered by George Georgopoulos who was negotiating with the City of London for the development of a state of the art mult-purpose entertainment centre and arena - John Labatt Centre (The JLC). The Hunters began the process of rebuilding by firstly joining in the lobbying for a new 9,900 seat arena in Downtown London and putting together a smart scouting network. The Ice House was scheduled to be sold and close at the conclusion of the 2001–02 OHL season, and as a treat for their fans, the Knights changed back to their 1986–94 green and gold uniforms in February 2002. In October that year the John Labatt Centre opened, and new, modernized versions of the old green and gold uniforms debuted. The 2003–04 OHL season would mark the beginning of a remarkable dynasty. The Knights had the best record in the CHL after the regular season, also setting an OHL record with 110 points, but they lost to the Guelph Storm in the OHL Western Conference final. In the 2004–05 season, the Knights broke a CHL record, going 31 games in a row without a loss (29-0-2). The previous record of 29 games, held by the 1978–79 Brandon Wheat Kings (who went 25-0-4 during their streak), was broken with a 0-0 tie against the Guelph Storm on December 10, 2004. The streak ended at 31 games after a 5-2 loss to the Sudbury Wolves on December 17. The Knights finished the season with 120 points (59 wins, 7 losses, 2 ties), breaking their own OHL record set the previous season. In the playoffs, the Knights started by sweeping two best-of-seven series against the Guelph Storm and Windsor Spitfires. In the Western Conference final, the Knights defeated the Kitchener Rangers 4-1 to win the Wayne Gretzky Trophy. In the OHL finals against the Ottawa 67's, the Knights won the series 4-1 to win their first J. Ross Robertson Cup, and in so doing, ended the longest championship drought in the CHL. That same year, the London Knights and the John Labatt Centre were awarded the right to host 2005 Memorial Cup Tournament, which was played from May 21 to May 29. In the tournament, they defeated the Rimouski Océanic 4-3 on May 21, the Kelowna Rockets 4-2 on May 23, and the Ottawa 67's 5-2 on May 26. This earned the Knights a bye into the championship game. On May 29, the Knights defeated Rimouski 4-0 to win their first Memorial Cup. In 2005–06, the team won their third consecutive Hamilton Spectator Trophy for winning the regular season title, but their run into the playoffs ended with a loss to Peterborough in the OHL final. In 2006–07 the Knights continued their run of success, winning their fourth consecutive Hamilton Spectator Trophy as regular season champions. However, they lost the Western Conference Championship to the Plymouth Whalers. On January 9, 2009, the London Knights made a blockbuster trade. They acquired hockey phenom and future number one pick in the 2009 NHL draft, John Tavares from the Oshawa Generals. The Knights also received defenceman Michael Del Zotto and goaltender Darryl Borden. In return, the Generals got defenceman Scott Valentine, forward Christian Thomas, goaltender Michael Zador, four second-round draft picks (2009–12) and two third-round picks (2010–11).
St. Michael's revived its hockey program for the 1997–98 season in the Ontario Hockey League. The recent version of the Majors played for 10 seasons, until being relocated as the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.
Originally owned by St. Michael's College School, the team is now owned by Eugene Melnyk, who is the current owner of the Ottawa Senators and CEO of Biovail Corporation. Melnyk pursued several deals to get a new arena for his team, but none came to fruition. One of Melnyk's foiled plans included purchasing Maple Leaf Gardens.
On July 12, 2006, Eugene Melnyk bought the Mississauga IceDogs. After the 2006–07 season, Melnyk sold the IceDogs to Bill Burke, and moved the Majors to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. The IceDogs, in turn, moved to Jack Gatecliff Arena in St. Catharines, Ontario and are now known as the Niagara IceDogs.
Although the team struggled at the box office early, they have steadily increased their attendance in three seasons at the Hershey Centre. This promises to continue improving with the news that this season, the Majors will host the 2011 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
Niagara Ice Dogs
On July 12, 2006, Eugene Melnyk, who owned the Toronto St. Michael's Majors, bought the Mississauga IceDogs. After the 2006–07 season, Melnyk sold the IceDogs, and moved the Majors to the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. The team approached the City of St. Catharines about moving the team into Jack Gatecliff Arena. St. Catharines City Council voted on a leasing arrangement on April 23, 2007, which passed. The OHL Board of Governors approved the deal on June 5, 2007.
The IceDogs entered their first season in Niagara ranked in the CHL's top ten, but soon fell out of the league's top rankings. The team played their first regular season home game against the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors in front of a sellout crowd on September 21, 2007. The IceDogs won the game, defeating the Majors 4-1. Over the course of the season, the IceDogs developed a major rivalry with the Mississauga Majors.
After selling out (3,145) their first home game, attendance figures remained low until Christmas. After Christmas, however, attendance increased significantly. The IceDogs finished the year averaging 2,722 fans and led the league with 15 sellout crowds.
In May 2010, the IceDogs became the first team in OHL history to have two first round picks, their own (6th overall), plus an additional compensatory pick they received for being unable to sign 2009 first round pick Lucas Lessio
The Generals have two distinct eras in their history. The original Generals operated from 1937 to 1953. The team went on a hiatus from 1953 to 1962 due to a fire at the Hambly Arena. The team was resurrected in 1962. Famous alumni of the Generals include Hockey Hall of Famers Bobby Orr and Alex Delvecchio, as well as Eric Lindros, Rick Middleton .
In 1937 the Oshawa Generals were born. The team was named after the sponsor, General Motors of Canada. The Generals put together an unequalled feat of seven consecutive OHA Championships, and winning three Memorial Cups in the same span.
In September 1953 a great tragedy struck in Oshawa when Hambly's Arena burned down. The city and the team lost what had become greatly endeared to themselves; their memories, their arena, and their OHA team. Donations poured in from many fellow OHA teams and local businessmen. Equipment and other items were dispersed to the all the players attending the training camp to cover individual losses. The Generals, homeless so close to the start of the new season, were unfortunately disbanded.
In 1960, Wren Blair began negotiations with Boston Bruins president Weston Adams to begin building the new Oshawa Generals. The agreement was made contingent on a new arena being built in Oshawa. The Oshawa Civic Auditorium would open up in 1964.
In 2004, John Davies purchased the team from the previous owner John Humphreys. This marked the beginning of a new era for the team, as the Humphreys family had owned the team since its resurrection in 1962.
The Ontario Hockey Association granted the city of Ottawa an expansion franchise on February 16, 1967. Four months later, the team was given the nickname 67's, in honour of Canada's centennial year. Three local businessmen--Bill Cowley, Howard Darwin and Bill Touhey--helped bring junior hockey back to Canada's capital.
After a rebuilding season in 1973–74, the 67's hired a young up-and-coming coach named Brian Kilrea, who has since become a legend in Ottawa. Kilrea coached the team to three successive improved winning records, culminating in a victory in the J. Ross Robertson Cup finals in 1977, versus the London Knights .
The 67's moved on to New Westminster, B.C., to compete for the Memorial Cup, versus the New Westminster Bruins and Sherbrooke Castors. The 1977 Memorial Tournament was the first to be held in British Columbia and the first to use a double round-robin format. Ottawa lost the first game 7-6 to the Bruins, then won three in a row, 6-1 over the Castors, 4-3 in overtime versus the Bruins, and then 5-2 against Sherbrooke. However, Ottawa lost to the host Bruins 6-5 in the championship game.
In 1984, the 67's reached the OHL championship series in a rematch from the 1982 OHL finals, against the Kitchener Rangers. Kitchener had been chosen to host the Memorial Cup tournament that year, and the Rangers also made it to the OHL finals. This meant that Ottawa gained an automatic berth in the tournament when they reached the league championship against the Rangers. In the OHL itself, however, Ottawa had unfinished business, having lost to Kitchener two years earlier. The 67's, who finished second overall to Kitchener in the OHL, defeated the Rangers 3 games to 0, with 2 ties, winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the second time in franchise history.
At the Memorial Cup in Kitchener, Ottawa defeated the Laval Voisins, featuring Mario Lemieux, by a score 6-5 in their first game, then beat the Kamloops Jr. Oilers 5-1 in game two, before losing to Kitchener 7-2 to conclude the round-robin. In the semi-final game, Ottawa beat Kamloops again, this time in a 7-2 victory. In the finals versus Kitchener, Ottawa scored a victory in the third consecutive 7-2 game in the tournament, defeating the Rangers and winning their first Memorial Cup. The Most Valuable Player of the Tournament was Adam Creighton. After the season ended, Brian Kilrea left Ottawa to become an assistant coach in the NHL.
The Ottawa 67's have appeared in the Memorial Cup tournament five times, winning twice. Ottawa has also won the J. Ross Robertson Cup three times, won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy three times, and have won twelve division titles.
The Owen Sound OHL franchise was born when the Holody family moved the Guelph Platers to the city for the 1989–90 OHL season. The team kept the name of Owen Sound Platers.
The Owen Sound Attack were born in the late summer of the year 2000 as a community-based OHL franchise. When the Holody family decided to sell the Owen Sound Platers buyers were sought from any city.
Several local Owen Sound businesspeople realized that an out-of-town buyer would mean losing the team to relocation. The most mentioned former OHL city was Cornwall, Ontario. This local business group banded together to purchase the team. After a bidding war and a summer-long legal battle with another suitor, the team remained in Owen Sound.
The ownership group elected for a name change and came up with the more modern sounding "Owen Sound Attack". The 2004–05 season was the best regular season in the OHL history of Owen Sound. General Manager Mike Futa was recognized by the OHL for his work in building the team with the OHL Executive of the Year award. The club also played host to the OHL All-Star Classic in 2005.
In 2010-11, the Attack wore the jerseys of the 1951 Allan Cup Champion Owen Sound Mercurys as a throwback third jersey. The Attack also captured their first Wayne Gretzky Trophy as Western Conference Champs and make their first appearance in the OHL Finals vs Mississauga St Mikes Majors. (They did it as the Platers in 1986 and won the Champioship). Since the Majors are the host city for the Memorial Cup, Owen Sound is guaranteed a spot in the tournament as the OHL representative.
The Petes were born when the Kitchener Canucks relocated to Peterborough after the 1955–56 season. They would also become a sponsored junior team for the Montreal Canadiens of the NHL. The Petes played their first game on October 1, 1956, and won their first game on November 6, 1956.
The Petes have produced a record number of National Hockey League players, including Hall of Famers Steve Yzerman, Bob Gainey, Larry Murphy, Scotty Bowman and Roger Neilson. The Petes have graduated the most players to the NHL of all current OHL teams.
The Petes have won the OHL Championship nine times, second-most in OHL history and the most in the postwar period. They won the Memorial Cup once, in 1979.
The Peterborough Petes won three consecutive OHL championships in 1978, 1979 and 1980. Gary Green coached the first two championships followed up by Mike Keenan in 1980. The Petes won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy two consecutive times in 1979 and 1980. Peterborough's success also continued into the Memorial Cup, reaching the championship game all three years, and winning the national junior title in 1979.
The Peterborough Petes celebrated their 40th anniversary in 1996. The Petes won the J. Ross Robertson Cup defeating the Guelph Storm in the finals, then and also played at home while hosting the Memorial Cup tournament in 1996. The club achieved a 100% sellout each tournament game, and lost in the final that year to the Granby Prédateurs.
The Petes celebrated their 50th anniversary in grand style, winning the J. Ross Robertson Cup on May 11, 2006, in a four game sweep of the London Knights. Peterborough travelled to Moncton, New Brunswick to play in the 2006 Memorial Cup, losing the third place tiebreaker game to the Vancouver Giants.
The Whalers can trace their roots back to the 1990–91 Detroit Compuware Ambassadors as an expansion team in the OHL. Since then the franchise has been the Detroit Junior Red Wings and the Detroit Whalers. In 1998 they were officially called the "Plymouth Whalers" after the local municipality gave generous tax breaks to the team and venue. The franchise has been owned by Peter Karmanos since its inception.
The Whalers have been part of the Compuware Hockey program since 1990, which also includes the Compuware Ambassadors minor hockey program and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes, who were formerly the Hartford Whalers, the namesake of the Detroit Whalers. The Carolina Hurricanes tend to give preference to players from the Plymouth Whalers in the NHL Entry Draft owing to common ownership (Karmanos owns both the Hurricanes and the OHL Whalers), and coaches and executives are promoted from within the Compuware Hockey affiliation.
Plymouth is one of only two teams to win 5 consecutive division titles (West division from 1999–2003, the other team being the Ottawa 67's (East division from 1996–2000). Plymouth has made the playoffs 17 consecutive seasons, since the 1991–92 season. The Whalers reached the OHL finals two consecutive seasons in 1999–2000, and 2000–01, losing to the Barrie Colts and Ottawa 67's.
The Saginaw Spirit were born when Dick Garber, the owner of several local automobile dealerships, purchased the North Bay Centennials and moved the team to Saginaw after the 2001–02 season, renaming it the Saginaw Spirit.
The team traces its roots back to St. Catharines, Ontario, where it played as the Falcons, Teepees, and Black Hawks from 1943–1976. It won two Memorial Cup championships as the Teepees, in 1954 and 1960. In 1976, the franchise moved to nearby Niagara Falls, where it was known as the Flyers. In 1982, the team was moved again, this time to North Bay, and renamed the Centennials, where it remained until moving to Saginaw in 2002.
The Spirit have done extensive promotions in the Mid-Michigan area, increasing their fan base and season ticket-holder numbers. The Spirit have one of the highest attendance rates in the Ontario Hockey League.
After three rebuilding seasons the Spirit clinched their first playoff berth on March 2, 2006, but lost in the first round to the Guelph Storm. They made the playoffs the following two seasons, but lost to the division rival Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds both times, in six games in 2007 and in four games in 2008. In 2009, the Spirit won their first playoff series since relocating to Saginaw, sweeping Guelph in four games. They were then swept in the second round by the London Knights.
The franchise was granted in 1969 as one of the inaugural teams of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. At the time, the team was located in Cornwall, Ontario and were known as the Cornwall Royals. During the team's tenure in the QMJHL the Royals won the Memorial Cup in 1972, 1980, and in 1981.
For the 1981–82 season, the team transferred to the Ontario Hockey League. In 1992, the franchise moved again to Newmarket, Ontario to play as the Newmarket Royals.
In 1994, the team was bought by the Ciccarelli brothers and moved to Sarnia, Ontario. Robert Ciccarelli is the team's current president and governor. In 1999–2000 he was voted OHL Executive of the Year.
The move of the OHL franchise also forced the Junior "B" Sarnia Bees to change their name to the Steeplejacks.
The Sarnia Sting are in quest of their first J. Ross Robertson Cup and first Memorial Cup. In 1996–97 was the closest the team came to the OHL Championship, but lost in the quarter-finals to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 3. The lone title so far, was in 2003–04 when the team won the OHL West Division, winning the Bumbacco Trophy. This was a regular season award. In the playoffs that year, the Sting were eliminated in the first round.
The first Greyhounds team formed in 1919, playing in the now defunct Upper-Peninsula League. The team's coach was George MacNamara. He suggested the team be called the Greyhounds since, "a greyhound is much faster than a wolf." That reference was to the already established rival club, the Sudbury Wolves
A couple seasons later, the Greyhounds switched to the Northern Ontario Hockey Association Senior "A" division. The team won the Senior A championship in 1921, 1923, 1924 and 1925. The 1924 Greyhounds also won the Allan Cup, the only team from Sault Ste. Marie to do so. In October 1925, the club received an offer from New York to play as the Knickerbockers in the Eastern Amateur Hockey League. The Greyhounds joined the Central Amateur Hockey Association, a division of the United States Amateur Hockey Association for the 1925–26 season. After the season, several players joined the professional ranks and the team folded. ] In 1929 a junior Greyhounds team was organized, competing in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The juniors won the league championship four consecutive years from 1928 to 1931, and a fifth title in 1942. Junior hockey in Sault Ste. Marie came to an abrupt end in 1945 when the Gouin Street Arena was destroyed by fire.
The senior Greyhounds team was revived in 1948. The new team played out of a temporary home at Pullar Stadium, in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, USA, until the Memorial Gardens opened in 1949. The senior Greyhounds won the NOHA championship four times in 1950, 1951, 1952 and 1955. This team folded, along with the league after the 1958–59 season.
The current Greyhounds Junior A franchise was founded in 1962 as a member of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The team's founders were Angelo Bumbacco, Lloyd Prokop, Phil Suraci, Pat Esposito and Dr. Bill Kelly. The Greyhounds played for ten seasons in the NOJHL. They were extremely successful, never having a losing season, and winning the league championship three times. In 1972, the Greyhounds entered the Ontario Hockey Association as a Major Junior A expansion team.
Sudbury has had a hockey team known as the Wolves or Club Wolves nearly every year since World War I. A Sudbury Cub Wolves junior team began play in the 1920s as a member of the Nickel Belt Hockey League, then later the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. Under the management of Max Silverman, this team won the George Richardson Memorial Trophy in 1932 and 1935, as Eastern Canadian champions. They won the Memorial Cup in 1932 and were runners-up in 1935. The senior Wolves represented Team Canada at the 1938 and 1949 World Championships, winning gold in 1938.
The second incarnation of the Wolves was the 1962 entry into the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. The Wolves won the McNamara Trophy as NOJHL Champions in 1969 and 1971.
The Ontario Hockey Association arrived in Sudbury in the fall of 1972 when the owners of the NOJHL's Sudbury Wolves bought the Niagara Falls Flyers franchise and merged the two teams.
Sudbury Wolves fans are dedicated and have persevered through many tough years and northern winters to support their club, and the team frequently ranks near the top of the OHL in attendance. Sam McMaster was named OHL Executive of the Year in 1989–90 as the general manager, helping his team have its first winning season in 10 years. Sudbury celebrated their 35th anniversary in 2006–07, also reaching the OHL championship series the same year.
The current OHL Sudbury Wolves have never won the OHL championship, and have never participated in the Memorial Cup. Theirs is currently the third-longest championship drought in the Canadian Hockey League, and is now the longest in the OHL since the London Knights broke their 40-year drought in 2005.
In 1976, the Wolves finished first overall in the OHA with 102 points, winning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy, and the Leyden Trophy for the Leyden Division. That year Sudbury reached the OHA finals, losing to the eventual Memorial Cup champion Hamilton Fincups in 5 games. The Wolves returned to the OHL finals 31 seasons later in 2006–07. The Wolves also won was the 2000–2001 Emms Trophy for the regular season Central Division title.
The Original Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey Association played Junior A hockey from 1945 to 1953. During this period the Spitfires reached the league finals twice, and featured four future Hockey Hall of Fame players. Prior to 1945 local junior hockey was divided up into the 6-team Windsor Junior Hockey League. The folding of the Spitfires occurred in 1953 as hockey interests in Windsor chose to focus their attention on the OHA Senior A Hockey League. This resulted in the founding of the Windsor Bulldogs. Eventually five former Spitfires laced up with the Bulldogs and one, Bobby Brown, won an Allan Cup with the team (1963). The Bulldogs folded in 1964 after one season in the International Hockey League.
The modern Windsor Spitfires started as a Junior A team which played in the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League from 1971–1975. The Spitfires won the 1973 Jack Oakes Trophy as league playoff champions and were regular season champions in 1974 and 1975, and were granted entry into the OMJHL (later known as the OHL) as an expansion franchise for the 1975–76 OMJHL season, after a 22 year hiatus.
The "Spits" as they are commonly known, won their first Emms division title in 1980 and reached the OHL finals, but lost to the Peterborough Petes. Ernie Godden set an all-time OHL record in 1980–81 scoring 87 goals. In 1984 Peter Karmanos, the founder and CEO of Compuware, bought the team and renamed them the Windsor Compuware Spitfires.
In a well-executed four-year plan, Windsor won the J. Ross Robertson Cup in 1987–88, defeating the Peterborough Petes for the OHL championship. The Compuware Spitfires won 35 of their last 36 games played, including being the first team to be undefeated in the OHL playoffs. Windsor also won 54 games and lost none, when leading after two periods. The Spitfires played in the 1988 Memorial Cup hosted in Chicoutimi, Quebec. Windsor lost in the championship game to the Medicine Hat Tigers.
Karmanos sold the team to local construction magnate Steve Riolo after the 1988–89 season, and the team reverted back the Windsor Spitfires name and adopted their modern logo.
On April 6, 2006, the Ontario Hockey League Board of Governors announced the approval of a new ownership group for the Windsor Spitfires. The group is composed of Bob Boughner, Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich. All three men had history in Windsor with OHL hockey, and the group had expressed hope to move the team into a new arena. Boughner assumed the roles of President, CEO and head coach of the Spitfires, Rychel was named director of player development, and Dobrich the new business manager.
The Spitfires won back to back Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010.