University Cup Men’s Hockey Championship

50th anniversary of University Cup: Gone but not forgotten

Laval Rouge et Or 1960-61
Laval Rouge et Or 1960-61

Courtesy of Steve Knowles, CIS Hockey

FREDERICTON - When McMaster University captain Rod "Butch" Hyde raised the University Cup over his head in triumph on March 16, 1963 it ushered in a new era in Canadian sport. With their 3-2 victory over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the Marlins became the first University Cup national champions and began a tradition that has continued to this day.

In the 50 years since that inaugural tournament in Kingston, Ontario, schools from across the country have been competing for Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) hockey supremacy. Over the years the University Cup tournament has taken on various formats while the landscape of Canadian intercollegiate hockey has changed. Since 1962-63 the number of teams and conferences that that have competed for the University Cup has fluctuated and even the national governing body has changed. Formed in 1961, the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (CIAU) operated under that moniker until June, 2001, when the membership voted to change the name to Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

In 1962-63, when the national championship was inaugurated, the CIS was composed of four conferences and over the years a total of seven different conferences have sent their respective champions to the University Cup tournament. The first two University Cup tournaments featured teams from four conferences and the field was expanded to five conference champions in 1964-65, a format that remained in operation for 20 of the next 21 seasons between 1964-65 and 1984-85. Of the seven conferences only three remain, and, since 1987-88, the trio – Atlantic University Sport, Ontario University Athletics and Canada West Hockey – have been competing for the University Cup.

Conferences that have been part of the CIS but no longer remain include the Ottawa-St. Lawrence Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1962-63 to 1970-71), the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1964-65 to 1970-71), the Quebec University Athletic Association (1971-72 to 1986-87) and the Great Plains Athletic Conference (1972-73 to 1984-85).

When McMaster won the first University Cup championship in 1962-63 there was a total of 29 teams playing hockey at the CIS level. The Marlins were one of eight teams in the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association, while the AUS roster consisted of nine teams, the Ottawa-St. Lawrence conference had eight teams and Canada West Hockey featured four teams.

Since then the number of CIS schools competing for the University Cup has varied as some teams faded from the scene and others joined the CIS. In 1971-72 a record 40 teams were in the CIS, while the 2011-12 season sees a field of 34 hockey teams vying for a national title. That number will increase to 35 in 2012-13 when the Mount Royal University Cougars join Canada West Hockey.

The first CIS school to discontinue its hockey program was the Nova Scotia Technical College. A long-time member of the AUS prior to the formation of the CIS, Nova Scotia Tech iced a team in 1962-63 and 1963-64 before dropping out of the conference prior to 1964-65. A total of 23 CIS schools have dropped hockey as a men's varsity sport over the years, including such long serving teams as the Bishop's Gaiters, Brandon Bobcats, Laurentian Voyageurs, Laval Rouge et Or, Loyola Warriors, McMaster Marlins, Mount Allison Mounties, Sir George Williams Georgians, St. Dunstan's Saints and Winnipeg Wesmen.

The first-ever University Cup champion, the McMaster Marlins were a strong program whose roots ran deep in Ontario intercollegiate hockey. Winning its only conference and national titles in 1962-63, McMaster would remain a member of the CIS until disbanding its program following the 1988-89 season. The Marlins are the only University Cup champion program to be discontinued.

A member of the AUS since the 1930s, the St. Dunstan's Saints twice won conference titles and represented the AUS in the 1964-65 University Cup tournament in Winnipeg. After taking the AUS championship with a 10-1-0 record, the Saints defeated Sir George Williams 3-1 in the semi-final before falling 9-2 to the host Manitoba Bisons in the UniversityCup final. St. Dunstan's would remain a member of the AUS playing their final season in 1968-69. The demise of the Saints came about when St. Dunstan's University merged with Prince of Wales College to form the University of Prince Edward Island..The 1969-70 season would see the Saints replaced by the UPEI Panthers. An interesting fact regarding the 1964-65 Saints. Five members of that St. Dunstan's team would go on to coach the Panthers – Jack Kane, Jack Hynes, Vince Mulligan, Bill MacMillan and Gord Whitlock.

Another AUS squad to fall to the wayside is the Mount Allison Mounties. A charter member of the AUS, the Mounties won six conference titles prior to the formation of the CIS in 1962-63. The Mounties were never able to match their pre-CIS success and following a stretch of 15 consecutive sub-.500 seasons between 1983-84 and 1997-98, Mount Allison suspended the operation of the team.

After playing sporadically as a member of Canada West Hockey in the 1950s, the Brandon Bobcats returned full-time to CIS Hockey in 1969-70 and continued as a CIS member until folding following 2001-02. Brandon was one of three teams (Brandon, Manitoba, Winnipeg) to leave Canada West Hockey and form the Great Plains Athletic Conference in 1972-73. The Bobcats would win four GPAC titles between 1972-73 and 1984-85 before rejoining Canada West Hockey in 1985-86, following the demise of the GPAC conference. Brandon would play 17 seasons in Canada West Hockey before pulling the plug on the program in 2002-03.

Two of the powerhouse members of the Ottawa-St. Lawrence conference, the Loyola Warriors and Sir George Williams Georgians combined to win eight of the nine OSL championships between 1962-63 and 1970-71. Both teams made the move to the newly formed QUAA in 1971-72 and accounted for that conference's first four championships. In 1975-76 the two schools merged to create Concordia University and the athletic teams from Loyola and Sir George Williams were reincarnated as the Concordia Stingers. The Stingers would continue the success of the Warriors and Maroons, winning nine consecutive QUAA titles from 1975-76 to 1983-84.

Joining the CIS in 1968-69, the Winnipeg Wesmen spent their first four seasons in Canada West Hockey before moving to GPAC in 1972-73. After enjoying only two seasons of above .500 hockey in its 12 seasons as a GPAC member, the Wesmen program was discontinued following the 1983-84 campaign. With the departure of the Wesmen, combined with the discontinuation of the Lakehead Nor'Westers program in 1984-85, the GPAC conference folded and the Manitoba Bisons, Brandon Bobcats and Regina Cougars merged with Canada West Hockey.

A charter member of the Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Laurentian Voyageurs won six of the conference's seven championships from 1964-65 to 1970-71 and represented the conference at six University Cup tournaments, reaching the championship final in 1966-67. With the demise of the OIAA, Laurentian moved to the OUAA in 1971-72 and was an active member for the next 29 seasons before discontinuing the program prior to the 2000-01 season.

One of the first Canadian schools to ice a hockey team, Laval was a long time member of the Ontario-Quebec conference, winning three championships in the 1950s and 1960s. Disbanded following the 1970-71 season, the Rouge et Or were reinstated as a varsity program in 1975-76 as a member of the QUAA and played two seasons before being shelved once more in 1977-78. After a one-year hiatus, Laval returned to the QUAA and played five more seasons before discontinuing its program following the 1982-83 season.

Other teams have discontinued hockey at one point, only to return to the fold of CIS Hockey. Both the Lakehead Thunderwolves and Carleton Ravens are back as CIS members. The Thunderwolves began its CIS membership in 1972-73 as the Lakehead Nor'westers in 1972-73 as a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference and won the initial GPAC conference title that season. Lakehead would continue as a member of GPAC until 1984-85 when the program was discontinued. After a 16 season hiatus, Lakehead reinstated its hockey program and the team returned to a new conference and a new nickname. Joining the OUA in 2001-02, Lakehead returned as the Thunderwolves and were an immediate contender, qualifying for post-season play each season and making four appearances in the University Cup tournament, including a trip to the championship game in 2005-06.

A charter member of the Ottawa-St. Lawrence conference in 1962-63, Carleton moved to the Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association in 1968-69 and remained a member of the conference when it became the Ontario University Athletic Association in 1971-72. The Ravens would discontinue hockey following the 1973-74 season before returning to the CIS in 2007-08.

While teams have left the CIS hockey ranks over the years, new programs have joined the national scene. Of the current 34 teams, 12 were not members when the CIS debuted in 1962-63. Over the seasons the CIS has expanded at various times with the first new members joining in 1964-65. The Moncton Aigles Bleus joined the AUS and the Calgary Dinosaurs became a member of Canada West Hockey that season. Windsor and York both joined in 1965-66) and were followed by Brock (1967-68), Prince Edward Island (1969-70), Trois-Rivieres (1969-70), Concordia (1975-76), Regina (1976-77), Lethbridge (1984-85), UOIT (2007-08) and the newest CIS member – the Nipissing Lakers (2009-10).

Following is a list of teams that once were members of CIS hockey:

TEAM / CONFERENCE(S) / LAST CIS SEASON

Bishop's Gaiters OSLAA & QUAA 1981-82
Brandon Bobcats CWUAA & GPAC 2001-02
Cape Breton Capers AUS 1995-96
College Militaire Royale OSLAA 1969-70
Laurentian Voyageurs OIAA & OUA 1999-00
Laval Rouge et Or OQAA & QUAA 1982-83
Loyola Warriors OSLAA & QUAA 1974-75
Memorial Beothouks AUS 1981-82
McDonald College Clansmen OSLAA 1970-71
McMaster Marlins OQAA & OUA 1988-89
Montreal Carabins OQAA & OUA 1971-72
Mount Allison Mounties AUS 1997-98
Nova Scotia Technical College AUS 1963-64
Osgoode Hall OIAA 1968-69
Quebec Chicoutimi Inuks QUAA 1985-86
Sherbrooke Vert et Or OSLAA & QUAA 1973-74
Sir George Williams Georgians OSLAA & QUAA 1974-75
St. Dunstan's Saints AUS 1968-69
St. Patrick's College OSLAA 1966-67
Trent Excalibur OIAA & OUA 1977-78
Victoria Vikings CWUAA 1972-73
Western Institute of Technology OIAA 1966-67
Winnipeg Wesmen CWUAA & GPAC 1983-84

Conferences

AUS – Atlantic University Sport
CWUAA – Canada West Universities Athletic Association (Canada West Hockey)
GPAC – Great Plains Athletic Conference
OIAA – Ontario Intercollegiate Athletic Association
OSLAA – Ottawa-St. Lawrence Athletic Association
OQAA – Ontario-Quebec Athletic Association
OUA – Ontario University Athletics
QUAA – Quebec University Athletic Association

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