The Manitoba Junior Hockey League
(MJHL) is a Junior 'A' ice hockey
league operating in the Canadian
province of Manitoba
. The MJHL is one of ten Junior 'A' Hockey Leagues in Canada and is a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League
(CJHL). The CJHL is an association of ten Junior 'A' Leagues in Canada.
The MJHL consists of 11 teams in 2 divisions, 5 in the Addison Division and 6 in the Sher-Wood Division. Each team plays 62 games during the regular season and the top 4 teams in each division qualify for league playoffs. The playoffs are an elimination tournament consisting of 3 rounds of best-of-seven series. The first 2 rounds determine which team from each division will advance to the final round. The winner of that series becomes the MJHL and Turnbull Cup champion.
The winner of the MJHL playoffs (Turnbull Cup) continues on to play in the Anavet Cup in a best-of-7 series against the champion of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The winner of the Anavet Cup will compete in the Junior "A" National Championship Tournament for the Royal Bank Cup.
- For the next round of the playoffs, please go to the Anavet Cup.
- For the National Championship, please go to the Royal Bank Cup.
The League has a rich tradition, first year of operation was the 1918–19 season, making it the oldest Junior League in Canada. At first the junior league was know as the Winnipeg and District League, until 1931 when it became the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. First year there were nine teams in two divisions. The teams included the Winnipeg Pilgrims, Elmwood, Grand Trunk Pacific, Winnipeg Tigers, Young Men’s Lutheran Club, Winnipeg Argonauts, Selkirk Fishermen, Weston and Winnipeg Monarchs. The first season consisted of each team playing six games. Over the years, more than 200 MJHL players have gone on to the NHL, and 11 of those MJHL graduates have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame
Andy Bathgate, Turk Broda, Art Coulter, Bobby Clarke, Charlie Gardiner, Bryan Hextall, Tom Johnson, Harry Oliver, Babe Pratt, Terry Sawchuk, and Jack Stewart.
In 55, the Stratton brothers Art
of the Winnipeg Barons
set a league record for most points in a single season with 76, each. In 57, Ray Brunel
of the St. Boniface Canadiens
broke it with 105.
In the early sixties, powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings
, built by Jake Milford
won three titles in a row, and four in five years. In 61, Goalie Ernie Wakely
of the Winnipeg Braves
was named Canada's outstanding junior hockey player for the month of January. In 62, Clarence Campbell
president of the National Hockey League
attends inaugural Manitoba - Saskatchewan all-star game In Winnipeg
In 1963 Jim Irving, captain of the Winnipeg Rangers, was named Manitoba's outstanding junior athlete and received the Carl Pederson Memorial Award.
Goaltender Wayne Stephenson led the Winnipeg Braves to the MJHL Championship in 65. In 67, Future Hall of Famer Bobby Clarke of the Flin Flon Bombers set league records for most goals (71), assists (112), and points (183), in a single season. The Clarke led Bombers won the MJHL title.
1967 & 1968
During the summer of 1967, the MAHA
agreed to allowed 3 teams to enter the WCHL
, the Brandon Wheat Kings
and the Flin Flon Bombers
from the MJHL, and the Ben Hatskin
's owned Winnipeg Jets
. Hatskin, also owned 3 MJHL teams. Part of the agreement was the continuation of the MJHL, Hatskin sold his 3 teams to local interests, and the Winnipeg Warriors became the West Kildonan North Stars
, the St. James Braves became the St. James Canadians
, and the Winnipeg Rangers became the St. Boniface Saints
. These 3 teams along with the Winnipeg Monarchs
became the new MJHL. The Selkirk Steelers
, however joined the Central Manitoba Junior Hockey League
. The very next year, the MJHL swallowed the CMJHL
creating a North Division to house all 4 teams, the Selkirk Steelers, Portage Terriers
, Dauphin Kings
, and Kenora Muskies
(who operated out of Fort Garry
the previous year). The existing teams created the South Division.
On September 19, 1968, the Winnipeg Monarchs
announced the signing of Hiroshi Hori
, a defenceman from Japan
Hori, a high school all-star in his homeland, will spend a year with the team and then return home to pass on what he has learned. A Canadian missionary to Japan, Father Moran
was behind the idea. With CAHA
approval, Moran convinced the Japanese Skating Union to sponsor one player to a year in Canada. The CAHA chose Winnipeg as the site because of the added experience from watching the Canadian National Team
, and the Monarchs volunteered.
The Goring Affair
On Sunday February 9, 1969, the MJHL held a special emergency meeting to discuss Butch Goring
leaving the Winnipeg Jets
of the WCHL
and joining the Dauphin Kings
. Goring played the night before in Kenora
for the Kings during a regular season game. The MJHL gave the Kings approval to use Goring in regular season and playoff games. Goring was leading the WCHL in goals at the time.
Monday, WCHL president Ron Butlin
said a court injunction would be sought against Goring and another Jet forward Merv Haney
from playing with Dauphin Kings. Also saying the CHA would be "taking whatever action is necessary against Dauphin and the MAHA
for damages." Goring and Haney would play for the Kings, all the way to the Western Memorial Cup
In September of 1971, Winnipeg Monarchs
President Bob Westmacott
year old Stephan Lindberg
had been invited to training camp. Jack Bownass
former coach of Canada's National Team
Lindberg to the Monarchs.
the new MJHL
The new MJHL was exciting! The Dauphin Kings
were the first “Dynasty” of the new MJHL, winning the League 3 out of 4 years, 69, 70, & 72, and boasting such stars as Ron Low
, Butch Goring
, and Ron Chipperfield
. The Kings went to the Western Memorial Cup
final in 69, and in 72 recorded 40 Wins, a modern day MJHL record. Charlie Simmer
of the Kenora Muskies
won the scoring title in 73, the same year the Portage Terriers
were crowned National Champs, winning the Centennial Cup
. In 74, the Selkirk Steelers
won the National crown, giving the MJHL back to back “Canadian Championships”. It was it's players like Low, Goring, Chipperfield, Simmer, Chuck Arnason
, Murray Bannerman
, Paul Baxter
, John Bednarski
, Rick Blight
, Dan Bonar
, Brian Engblom
, Glen Hanlon
, Bob Joyce
, Barry Legge
, Perry Miller
, Chris Oddleifson
, Curt Ridley
, Rick St. Croix
, Blaine Stoughton
, and Andy Van Hellemond
that gave the new MJHL it’s foundation.
the Steelers Rule
dominated, between 74 and 87, 8 MJHL Championships. Including 3 in a row. The 74 Steelers were inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
, as were the 73 Portage Terriers
. In 75, Jim Misener
of the Dauphin Kings
led the league in goals with 73, breaking Bobby Clarke
’s single season record of 71. In 77, the Dauphin Kings
won their 4th MJHL title in a decade, led by Misener who became the MJHL career leader in goals, assists, and points.
The Chris Walby Incident
On April 5, 1977, MJHL commissioner Bill Addison
called off the Turnbull Cup Finals between the Dauphin Kings
and Kildonan North Stars
, saying "No, I am not going to allow these characters an opportunity to beat on each other any longer. I am calling the series (a best-of-seven) and awarding it to Dauphin on the basis they won two of the three games completed." The decision came just hours after the two clubs had engaged in a pre-game brawl, in which two Kings players were taken to hospital and two North Stars were criminally charged. Chris Walby
was convicted of common assault, and granted a conditional discharge. The CAHA
was not as kind, suspending Walby for life.
the 80's & 90's
led the Winnipeg South Blues
to the first of 4 MJHL Championships in 8 years in 82. In 83, Mike Ridley
of the St. Boniface Saints
broke both Jim Misener
’s goal scoring record and Bobby Clarke
’s points record. In 95, Cory Cyrenne
of the Saints
was chosen CJAHL
Player of the Year, and the Winnipeg South Blues
won their 5th Championship, on their road to a 2nd Anavet Cup
, and an Abbott Cup
. The 95 Blues
were inducted into Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame
. In 98, Jedd Crumb
of the Blues
led all of the CJAHL
in goals with 61.
Then came the OCN Blizzard
, 5 straight MJHL Championships. Only the legendary Elmwood Millionaires
(1927-1931) had ever won 5 in a row. Junior Lessard
of the Terriers
was named CJAHL
Player of the Year in 2000. Blizzard
Goaltenders Preston McKay
(1998) and Marc Andre Leclerc
(2001) led the CJAHL
in Goals Against Average, and Leftwinger Andrew Coates
(2003) led in goals. In 2004, Aaron Starr
of the Blizzard
became the first MJHLer to led the CJAHL
in scoring with 118 points.
Turnbull Cup Champions
Manitoba Junior Championships (1919 to 1970)
Manitoba Junior ‘A’ Championships (1971 to Present)
Post MJHL Playoffs
Starting in 1971, the winner of the MJHL playoffs (Turnbull Cup) plays the winner of Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League
playoffs (Credential Cup) for the Anavet Cup
. Since 1991 the winner goes to the Royal Bank Cup
tournament (1991-94 Centennial Cup tournament). An Abbott Cup
Champion was crowned from the results of the round robin part of this tournament until 1999, when the Cup was retired.
Between 1970 and 1991, the Anavet Cup Champions advanced to the Abbott Cup against the winner of AJHL/BCHL (Doyle Cup). With the winner going on to the Centennial Cup meeting the Eastern Canada Champions for the National Junior ‘A’ title.
Prior to 1971, the winner of the MJHL playoffs (Turnbull Cup) competed for the Abbott Cup (Western Canadian Junior Championship), and then the Memorial Cup for the National Junior Championship. These post MJHL playoffs are commonly know as the Memorial Cup playoffs (M-Cup), for the MJHL Champs the road was firstly the Western M-Cup Semi-finals and Finals (Abbott Cup), and then the Memorial Cup Finals. During this 53 year era (1918-1970), MJHL Teams won 18 Abbott Cups, and 11 Memorial Cups.
Manitoba/Saskatchewan Junior ‘A’ Hockey Championships
(1971 to Present)
Western Canadian Junior Hockey Championships
(1919 to 1970) Western Canadian Junior Championships
(1971 to 1999) Western Canadian Junior ‘A’ Championships
National Junior Hockey Championships
(1919-1970) National Junior Championships
(1971 to 1990) National Junior ‘A’ Championships
Awards & Leaders
Timeline of Teams
not continuous *
continuous franchise +