In 1888, the teams that made up the main circuit for the Montreal Winter Carnival played a season-long stand-alone hockey league that did not coincide with the popular winter festival. In fact, the MWC Hockey Tournament was cancelled as the teams decided to play for the first time a balanced schedule against each other instead of the series challenge format that had been played up to now. The Montreal Hockey Club, McGill University, Montreal Crystals, and the Montreal Victorias participated in a balanced schedule at the Crystal and Victoria hockey rinks.
The second season played in 1888 (played from January 13 to March 15) saw The Montreal Hockey Club win the Championship in a one game playoff against the Montreal Victorias after both teams were tied at the end of regular season play. This was the first ever playoff game and the first ever tie in regular season play.
|Championships to 1888 Season for Amateur Hockey Association of Canada|
|Team||# of Championships||Premier Championship Points|
|Montreal Hockey Club||3 (1885-86, 88)||8 (+3)|
|Montreal Crystals||1 (1887)||4|
|Montreal Victorias||1 (1884)||4|
|McGill University||1 (1883)||2|
The MWC Tournament being the first ever organized Ice Hockey tournament lead to the creation of the first persistent league. The four Montreal teams plus Ottawa who all played in the MWC formed the AHAC in 1887 which became the first ever Ice Hockey League. Thus MWC Tournament is considered to be the direct predecessor to the AHAC for historical and statistical purposes. From this humble beginning ice hockey and its leagues established their beginning.