Alberta Junior Hockey League: Wikis

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Alberta Junior Hockey League
Ajhl.png
Alberta Junior Hockey League
Sport Ice hockey
Founded 1964
No. of teams 16
Country(ies)  Canada
Most recent champion(s) Grande Prairie Storm

The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) is an Alberta-based Junior A hockey league that belongs to the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL). It was formed as a five-team league in 1964. There are currently 16 teams in the league. The regular season league champions receive the Dave Duchak Trophy. The playoff champions receive the Enerflex Cup (the Carling O'Keefe trophy before 1998). The winner of the AJHL playoffs continues on to play in the Doyle Cup in a best-of-seven series against the champion of the British Columbia Hockey League. The winner of the Doyle Cup competes in the Junior "A" National Championship for the Royal Bank Cup.

Contents

History

Former logo of the AJHL, until 2006

The early 1960s saw a much different junior hockey scenario in Alberta than what currently exists. The Edmonton Oil Kings were the only true Junior-A-calibre team in the province and drew most of the top talent Alberta had to offer. The Oil Kings were the Western Canadian champions from 1962 until 1966, Abbott Cup champions in 1954 and from 1960 to 1966, and Memorial Cup national champions in 1963 and 1966. In 1966, the Oil Kings helped create the Western Hockey League. The issue in 1964 was that there were hundreds of junior-calibre players in the province, but really only one team to play for. A group of business and hockey people got together in 1964 and decided to form a Junior "A" league in an attempt to truly develop Alberta hockey. The original league consisted of the Edmonton Safeway Canadians, the Edmonton Maple Leafs, the Lethbridge Sugar Kings, Calgary Cowboys, and the Calgary Buffaloes.

The Edmonton Safeway Canadians and Maple Leafs would later merge in 1971 to become the Edmonton Mets, then move to Spruce Grove to become the Spruce Grove Mets in 1974. They lasted only three seasons in Spruce Grove; however, they won the AJHL title twice, and the Manitoba Centennial Trophy in 1975. In 1976, they moved again to become the St. Albert Saints, where they won three more league titles. In 2004, the team returned to Spruce Grove as the Spruce Grove Saints. This well-travelled franchise has sent over 30 players into the National Hockey League, including Hockey Hall of Famer Mark Messier.[1]

One of the AJHL's most famous franchises, the Red Deer Rustlers, joined the league in 1967, capturing the championship in their first season. The Rustlers had attempted to join the Western Canada Junior Hockey League, but were blocked by the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association, and instead placed in the AJHL.[2] In 1971, the Rustlers captured the first Manitoba Centennial Trophy as national Junior A champions. The Rustlers, who featured all six Sutter brothers who would go onto the National Hockey League, won eight AJHL titles and two Centennial Trophies during their existence. They were expelled from the league, however, in 1989, and formally folded in 1992 when the Red Deer Rebels joined the WHL.[3]

In 1971, the Calgary Canucks were founded following the demise of the Cowboys and Buffaloes. Today, the Canucks are the oldest franchise still operating in the AJHL. It was founded with a mandate to focus on giving Calgary-area kids a place to play while focusing on their educational needs. The Canucks have captured a league record nine AJHL championships and won the Centennial Cup in 1995, the Canadian Championship of Junior A hockey, now know know as the Royal Bank Cup.

Current teams

North Division
Team Centre 2008–09 record Finish
Bonnyville Pontiacs Bonnyville 35–22–1–4 4
Drayton Valley Thunder Drayton Valley 7–50–2–3 8
Fort McMurray Oil Barons Fort McMurray 31–26–2–3 5
Grande Prairie Storm Grande Prairie 42–15–2–3 2
Lloydminster Bobcats Lloydminster 25–29–2–6 7
St. Albert Steel St. Albert 29–26–1–6 6
Sherwood Park Crusaders Sherwood Park 41–20–0–1 3
Spruce Grove Saints Spruce Grove 46–7–4–5 1
South Division
Team Centre 2008–09 record Finish
Brooks Bandits Brooks 39–18–3–2 1
Calgary Canucks Calgary 31–21–4–6 4
Calgary Royals Calgary 8–48–1–5 8
Camrose Kodiaks Camrose 29–28–1–4 5
Canmore Eagles Canmore 19–39–1–3 7
Drumheller Dragons Drumheller 26–30–1–5 6
Okotoks Oilers Okotoks 39–19–2–2 2
Olds Grizzlys Olds 35–23–1–3 3

2009 Enerflex Cup Playoffs

  First round Second round Semi-finals Rogers Wireless Cup Final
                                     
        
  1  Spruce Grove 4  
    5  Fort McMurray 1  
4  Bonnyville 1
5  Fort McMurray 3  
  N1  Spruce Grove 4  
North
  S3  Olds 0  
2  Grande Prairie 3  
7  Lloydminster 1  
  2  Grande Prairie 4
    3  Sherwood Park 2  
3  Sherwood Park 3
6  St. Albert 1  
  N1  Spruce Grove 0
  N2  Grande Prairie 4
        
        
  1  Brooks 4
    5  Camrose 3  
4  Cgy. Canucks 1
5  Camrose 3  
  N2  Grande Prairie 4
South
  S1  Brooks 1  
2  Okotoks 3  
7  Canmore 0  
  2  Okotoks 2
    3  Olds 4  
3  Olds 3
6  Drumheller 2  

For the semifinal round, the AJHL reseeds the four remaining teams by overall record.

Royal Bank Cup champions

Seven AJHL teams have captured the Royal Bank Cup, or its predecessor, the Manitoba Centennial Trophy, as Canadian national champions since the tournament was introduced in 1971:

  • 2001: Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2000: Fort McMurray Oil Barons
  • 1995: Calgary Canucks
  • 1994: Olds Grizzlys
  • 1980: Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1975: Spruce Grove Mets
  • 1971: Red Deer Rustlers

Carling O'Keefe Cup champions

  • 1965 Calgary Buffaloes
  • 1966 Calgary Buffaloes
  • 1967 Edmonton Western Movers
  • 1968 Edmonton Western Movers
  • 1969 Lethbridge Sugar Kings
  • 1970 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1971 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1972 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1973 Calgary Canucks
  • 1974 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1975 Spruce Grove Mets
  • 1976 Spruce Grove Mets
  • 1977 Calgary Canucks
  • 1978 Calgary Canucks
  • 1979 Fort Saskatchewan Traders
  • 1980 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1981 St. Albert Saints
  • 1982 St. Albert Saints
  • 1983 Calgary Canucks
  • 1984 Fort Saskatchewan Traders
  • 1985 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1986 Calgary Canucks
  • 1987 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1988 Calgary Canucks
  • 1989 Red Deer Rustlers
  • 1990 Calgary Canucks
  • 1991 Calgary Royals
  • 1992 Olds Grizzlys
  • 1993 Olds Grizzlys
  • 1994 Olds Grizzlys
  • 1995 Calgary Canucks
  • 1996 St. Albert Saints
  • 1997 Fort McMurray Oil Barons

Rogers Wireless Cup champions

  • 1998 St. Albert Saints
  • 1999 Calgary Canucks
  • 2000 Fort McMurray Oil Barons
  • 2001 Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2002 Drayton Valley Thunder
  • 2003 Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2004 Grande Prairie Storm
  • 2005 Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2006 Fort McMurray Oil Barons
  • 2007 Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2008 Camrose Kodiaks
  • 2009 Grande Prairie Storm

NHL alumni

Nearly 200 AJHL grads have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.[1] Among them:

References

  1. ^ a b AJHL Annual Guide & Record Book 2006–07, pg. 98
  2. ^ AJHL history—1960s, ajhl.ca
  3. ^ AJHL history—1980s

External links

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