Winnipeg Hockey History

Winnipeg Hockey History

When the Winnipeg Jets rejoined the NHL 2 years ago it was like Winnipeg hockey in “River City” was re-born. The truth of the matter is with or without an NHL hockey Winnipeg Hockey has a very long and rich history.

Hockey has been played in different variations since the 1700s. The “modern” version of the sport was established in Montreal in the 1870s and Winnipeg has made it’s contributions to the modern game.

Winnipeg hockey history highlights

WPG NHL history – highlights

Winnipeg Hockey Teams

1893: A Winnipeg hockey team had an exhibition tour, introducing their game in Eastern Canada.

1890’s: Goalies in Winnipeg started using cricket pads to protect their knees and shins, leading to evolution of the modern hockey goaltender. It’s been said that around the same time, some inventive Winnipeg hockey players starting using the “wrist shot.”

1896: Winnipeg Victorias won the Stanley Cup against the Montreal Victorias. (Amateur)

1901: Winnipeg Victorias won the Stanley Cup. (Amateur)

1902: Winnipeg Victorias won the Stanley Cup. (Amateur)

1903: Winnipeg Victorias won the Stanley Cup. (Amateur)

1911: Winnipeg Victorias won the Allen Cup. (Amateur)

1911: Winnipeg Falcons were established.

The Winnipeg Falcons were a team made up entirely of Icelandic descendants who had been barred from playing on any other Winnipeg hockey team because of their ethnicity. The Falcons spent the 1911-12 season in the basement of the Manitoba Independent League. But with the acquisition of two dynamic players — Konnie Johannesson and Frank Frederickson — the Falcons began to build the foundation for a world-beating franchise.

1912: Winnipeg Victorias won the Allen Cup. (Amateur)

1919: Winnipeg Falcons won the Allen Cup. (Amateur)

1920: Winnipeg Falcons won the Allen Cup. (Amateur)

1920: Winnipeg Falcons won the Gold Medal at the 1920 Olympic Winter Games in Antwerp, Belgium

1935: Winnipeg Monarchs won gold for Canada at the World Hockey Championships. 

Winnipeg Hockey: Junior A 

1918-1934: Winnipeg and District League was formed making it the oldest Junior Hockey League in Canada.

1934-2013: The Manitoba Junior Hockey League is born >>> MJHL History taking over from the Winnipeg and District League.

1967-2013: The WCHL (now the WHL) add Brandon, Flin Flon and Winnipeg to their league.

Some of the teams in the earlier days were named Winnipeg Pilgrims, Elmwood, Grand Trunk Pacific, Winnipeg Tigers, Young Men’s Lutheran Club, Winnipeg Argonauts, Selkirk Fishermen, Weston, and Winnipeg Monarchs. Over the years, more than 200 MJHL players have gone on to play in the NHL and 11 of those MJHL grads have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.


1972:  Was It The Start Of Pro Hockey In Winnipeg?

I was reminded that the answer is NO!!!  Actually Winnipeg ‘s pro hockey scene started with the Winnipeg Warriors in 1955.  Further to this discussion it is possible there might have been some level of semi-pro or minor pro-hockey in the 1920’s.  (not confirmed)

1955-1961:  The Winnipeg Warriors (minor professional)

The Winnipeg Warriors were the first tenant in the new Winnipeg Arena and actually played the first ever game there on Oct.18, 1955 in front of a packed house of 9,671.  Names like Fred Shero, Ted Green, Ernie Wakely and Billy Mosienko were players that played with the Warriors between 1955-61.  The Warriors had over 50 of  their alumni play in the NHL.

1972-79: The World Hockey Association was founded and flourished in Winnipeg.

It was 1972 when Winnipeg was introduced to professional hockey with the arrival of the World Hockey Association. The team nickname came from Winnipeg’s Western Canada Hockey League team.

The Jets’ most famous player was Bobby Hull, the Chicago Black Hawk legend who was signed with the Jets putting Winnipeg hockey in this city on the hockey map. Hull’s presence gave the WHA immediate credibility. He was joined later by Swedish prodigies, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. “The Golden Jet” spearheaded arguably one of the most feared lines in WHA’s history. The Jets went to the WHA finals five times and won the coveted AVCO trophy three times.

1978-79: Despite its exciting on-ice product, the WHA was financially unstable, and it folded after the 1978-79 season.

1979-80: The Winnipeg Jets joined the NHL for the 1979-80 season (along with the Quebec Nordiques, the Edmonton Oilers and the New England Whalers).

Winnipeg Jets 1.0

Their invitation to join the NHL didn’t come without a steep price as the league stipulated that each of the expansion teams could only protect two players. The Jets two original NHL jets were Scott Campbell and Morris Lukowich. The team finished second-last in 1979-80 and dead last in 1980-81.

1981: In 1981, it chose a youngster named Dale Hawerchuk, who would become a future Hall of Famer. Over the years, the Jets also drafted players like Thomas Steen, Dave Babych and Dave Ellett, all of whom ended up representing, at one point or another, the Western Conference in the All-Star game. As an NHL team, the Winnipeg Jets never achieved the level of success they did in the WHA.

1987: In the opening round of the 1987 playoffs saw the introduction of the “Winnipeg White-Out,” in which fans wore all white to home games in order to intimidate the opposing Calgary Flames. The Jets beat the Flames in four straight games, but lost to the Oilers in the next round.

A Winnipeg hockey tradition was started and The “White-Out” tradition was born, and even moved to Arizona when the Jets later became the Phoenix Coyotes.

1996: The league decided to relocate the Jets to an American market. In 1996, the Jets were reborn as the Phoenix Coyotes.

1996: The IHL and the Manitoba Moose , a minor-league team in the International Hockey League were purchased and moved from Minnesota to inhabit the vacated Winnipeg Arena.

2001: The Manitoba Moose move from the IHL to join the AHL.

The Moose were a very consistent franchise reaching the AHL finals in 2009, only to lose to the Hershey Bears. For ten years the Moose were a viable hockey option in the Winnipeg hockey scene, while hockey fans hoped and waited for the return of the NHL.

Winnipeg Jets 2.0 Back In The NHL

Winnipeg Hockey NHL Style

Winnipeg Jets 2.0

2011: On May 31, 2011, Mark Chipman, on behalf of TNSE (which acquired the Moose in 2003), announced the purchase of the Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL with the intent of moving them to Winnipeg for the 2011–12 season.

As a result, True North negotiated a deal to relocate the Moose to St. John’s NFLD for the 2011–12 season, ending their 15 year tenure in Manitoba.

The Manitoba Moose are now the St. John’s IceCaps. They play in the American Hockey League (AHL) are the Winnipeg Jets number one “Farm Team”.

Ice Hockey Series of Notes: Winnipeg Hockey History | Winnipeg Jets History | Fantasy Hockey

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