The Amateur Hockey Association played five of its first six seasons in a challenger format, a championship process we see in boxing where the winning party continues to hold the championship title until defeated. The AHAC did play its second season in 1888 in a balanced, round-robin format but switched back to challenge play from 1889 until 1892.
The first six seasons of 1887 to 1892 are summarized below as a single entity because so much changed in 1893:
- The AHAC would become the official premier hockey league when its champion was gifted the first ever Dominion Challenge Cup.
- The AHAC switched to an ongoing round-robin format for each subsequent season, a tradition that has been followed ever since.
- The membership of the AHAC would become set with five premier clubs: Montreal Hockey Club, Montreal Victorias, Montreal Crystals/Shamrocks, Quebec Hockey Club, and Ottawa Hockey Club.
|Montreal Hockey Club||30||24||6||0||103||54||5/6|
|Ottawa Hockey Club||9||6||3||0||32||21||0/3|
|Quebec Hockey Club||5||0||5||0||6||14||0/4|
* Includes three seasons as the Crystals, one season played as the Dominions, and one season as the Crescents.
SW/SP = Seasons Won / Seasons Played