Manitoba Junior Hockey League
|Former name(s)||Winnipeg and District League|
|No. of teams||11|
|Associated Title(s)||Western Canada Cup
Royal Bank Cup
|Recent Champions||Steinbach Pistons|
|Most successful club||Winnipeg Blues (16)|
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 eleven Junior 'A' Hockey Leagues in Canada and is a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL).
The MJHL consists of 11 teams in two divisions, five in the Addison Division and six in the Sher-Wood Division. Each team plays 62 games during the regular season and the top four teams in each division qualify for league playoffs. The playoffs are an elimination tournament consisting of three rounds of best-of-seven series. The first two 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 Western Canada Cup tournament, where it competes against the champions from Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia for one of two berths in the Royal Bank Cup, the Junior "A" National Championship Tournament. From 1971 to 2012, the Manitoba champion would play in the Anavet Cup, a best-of-seven series against the champion of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, to determine who would play for the Royal Bank Cup.
Early years 
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 known as the Winnipeg and District League, until 1931 when it became the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. In its 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 National Hockey League (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 1955, the brothers Art and Gordon Stratton of the Winnipeg Barons set a league record for most points in a single season with 76 each. In 1957, Ray Brunel of the St. Boniface Canadiens broke it with 105.
In the early sixties the powerhouse Brandon Wheat Kings - built by Jake Milford - won three titles in a row, and four in five years. In 1961 goalie Ernie Wakely of the Winnipeg Braves was named Canada's outstanding junior hockey player for the month of January. In 1962 Clarence Campbell president of the NHL attended inaugural Manitoba–Saskatchewan all-star game in Winnipeg.
Goaltender Wayne Stephenson led the Winnipeg Braves to the MJHL Championship in 1965. In 1967 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. Clarke led the Bombers to win the MJHL title.
Modern era 
1967 and 1968 
During the summer of 1967, the MAHA agreed to allow three teams to enter the Western Hockey League (WCHL), the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Flin Flon Bombers from the MJHL, and the Ben Hatskin's owned Winnipeg Jets. Hatskin also owned three MJHL teams. Part of the agreement was the continuation of the MJHL. Hatskin sold his three teams to local interests. 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 three teams along with the Winnipeg Monarchs became the new MJHL. The Selkirk Steelers, however joined the Central Manitoba Junior Hockey League (CMJHL). The very next year, the MJHL swallowed the CMJHL, creating a North Division to house all four 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.
Japanese star 
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, would spend a year with the team and then return home to pass on what he had 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.
Butch Goring incident 
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 the 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 Finals.
Swedish import 
In September 1971, Winnipeg Monarchs President Bob Westmacott announced 17-year-old Stephan Lindberg of Sweden had been invited to training camp. Jack Bownass, former coach of Canada's national team, recommended Lindberg to the Monarchs.
The new MJHL 
The Dauphin Kings were the first "dynasty" of the new MJHL, winning the league three out of four years, 1969, 1970, and 1972, and boasting such stars as Ron Low, Butch Goring, and Ron Chipperfield. The Kings went to the Western Memorial Cup final in 1969, and in 1972 recorded 40 wins, a modern day MJHL record. Charlie Simmer of the Kenora Muskies won the scoring title in 1973, the same year the Portage Terriers were crowned National Champs, winning the Centennial Cup. In 1974, the Selkirk Steelers won the national crown, giving the MJHL back to back "Canadian Championships". It was players such as 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 who gave the new MJHL its foundation.
Selkirk Steelers domination 
The Selkirk Steelers dominated, between 1974 and 1987, winning eight MJHL championships, including three in a row. The 1974 Steelers were inducted into the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame, as were the 1973 Portage Terriers. In 1975, Jim Misener of the Dauphin Kings led the league in goals with 73, breaking Bobby Clarke's single season record of 71. In 1977, the Dauphin Kings won their fourth MJHL title in a decade, led by Misener who became the MJHL career leader in goals, assists, and points.
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.
1980s and 1990s 
Grant Ledyard led the Winnipeg South Blues to the first of four MJHL Championships in 8 years in 1982. In 1983, 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 Canadian Junior A Hockey League (CJAHL) Player of the Year, and the Winnipeg South Blues won their fifth championship, on their road to a second Anavet Cup, and an Abbott Cup. The 1995 Blues were inducted into Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1998, Jedd Crumb of the Blues led the CJAHL in goals with 61.
OCN Blizzard 
Then came the OCN Blizzard, who won five straight MJHL championships. Only the legendary Elmwood Millionaires (1927–1931) had ever won five in a row. Junior Lessard of the Portage 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 left winger Andrew Coates (2003) led in goals. In 2004, Aaron Starr of the Blizzard became the first MJHL player to lead the CJAHL in scoring with 118 points.
Neepawa hazing incident 
In October 2011, the Neepawa Natives reported a hazing incident to Kim Davis, MJHL Commissioner. After an investigation, Davis confirmed that a 15-year-old player had come forward with allegations of sexual-based rookie hazing in the Natives' locker room. A record $5000 fine and 18 suspensions resulted from the incident. The Natives gained even more negative press by benching and refusing to release or trade the 15-year-old who brought the issue to light.
Current teams 
|Portage Terriers||Portage la Prairie, Manitoba||Portage Credit Union Centre||1942|
|Selkirk Steelers||Selkirk, Manitoba||Selkirk Recreation Complex||1966|
|Steinbach Pistons||Steinbach, Manitoba||T.G. Smith Centre||1988|
|Winkler Flyers||Winkler, Manitoba||Winkler Arena||1980|
|Winnipeg Blues||Winnipeg, Manitoba||MTS Iceplex||1930|
|Dauphin Kings||Dauphin, Manitoba||Credit Union Place||1967|
|Neepawa Natives||Neepawa, Manitoba||Yellowhead Centre||1989|
|OCN Blizzard||The Pas, Manitoba||Gordon Lathlin Memorial Centre||1996|
|Swan Valley Stampeders||Swan River, Manitoba||Swan River Centennial Arena||1999|
|Virden Oil Capitals||Virden, Manitoba||Tundra Oil & Gas Place||1956|
|Waywayseecappo Wolverines||Waywayseecappo, Manitoba||Waywayseecappo Wolverines Complex||1999|
Turnbull Cup Champions 
- For the Western Regional playoffs, please go to the Western Canada Cup.
- For the National Championship, please go to the 2013 Royal Bank Cup.
Manitoba Junior ‘A’ Championships (1971 to Present) 
Post MJHL Playoffs 
Starting in 2012-13, the winner of the MJHL playoffs (Turnbull Cup) will earn a berth in the Western Canada Cup, a five-team regional tournament featuring a host team and the league champions from the MJHL, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Alberta Junior Hockey League, and British Columbia Hockey League. The top two teams from this tournament qualify for the Royal Bank Cup, the national Junior 'A' tournament.
From 1971 to 2012, the Turnbull Cup champion would play the winner of SJHL playoffs (Credential Cup) for the Anavet Cup. From 1991 to 2012, the winner of that series would go 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. Prior to 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 were commonly known as the Memorial Cup playoffs. For the MJHL champions, the road was firstly the western semi-finals and finals for the (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 
Anavet Cup (1971 to 2012)
Western Canadian Junior Hockey Championships 
Abbott Cup (1919 to 1970) Western Canadian Junior Championships
Abbott Cup (1971 to 1999) Western Canadian Junior ‘A’ Championships
National Junior Hockey Championships 
Memorial Cup (1919-1970) National Junior Championships
Centennial Trophy (1971 to 1990) National Junior ‘A’ Championships
Awards and leaders 
Individual awards 
- Steve "Boomer" Hawrysh Award MVP
- MJHL Top Goaltender Award
- Brian Kozak Award Top Defenceman
- Vince Leah Trophy Rookie of the Year
- Lorne Lyndon Memorial Trophy Hockey Ability and Sportsmanship
- Muzz McPherson Award Coach of the Year
- Mike Ridley Trophy Scoring Champion
- MJHL Top Goal Scorers
- MJHL All-Star Teams
- MJHL All Rookie Team
- MJHL Playoff MVP
- CJAHL Player of the Year (MJHL)
National Hockey League 
Defunct teams 
- Thunder Bay Hornets
- Brandon Elks
- Brandon Travellers
- CUAC Blues
- East Kildonan Bisons
- Elmwood Maple Leafs
- Elmwood Millionaires
- Kildonan North Stars
- St. Boniface Athletics
- St. Boniface Seals
- Stonewall Jets
- St. James Canadians
- St. James Orioles
- Steinbach Hawks
- Thompson King Miners
- Winnipeg Air Cadets
- Winnipeg Barons
- Winnipeg Black Hawks
- Winnipeg Esquires
- Winnipeg Monarchs
- Winnipeg Rangers (1939-1947)
- Winnipeg Rangers (1956-1967)
- Winnipeg Hockey Club
- Winnipeg Junior Falcons
- Winnipeg Saints
- Winnipeg Wellingtons
- Wolseley Flyers
List of MJHL seasons 
See also 
- "Unity through diversity". CBC News. February 4, 2008.