In 1894, the teams that formerly made up the main circuit for the Montreal Winter Carnival played a season-long stand-alone hockey league that was a successor to the popular winter festival. In fact, the MWC Hockey Tournament was cancelled as the teams decided to focus on their own league play. The Montreal Hockey Club, Montreal Crescents, Montreal Shamrocks, Montreal Victorias, Quebec Hockey Club, and the Ottawa Hockey Club participated in a balanced, round-robin format which was going to be an ongoing practice.
The eighth season played in 1894 (played from January 5 to March 10) saw a four-way tie to determine the league champion and who would win the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. 1894 was the second year that the Dominion Challenge Cup was awarded. Because of the four-way tie in the standings, the first ever playoff needed to be arranged.
At the end of the 1894 AHAC season, four teams tied for the AHA championship with records of 5–3–0. This created problems for the AHA governors and the Cup’s trustees since there was no tie-breaking system in place. Quebec decided to not participate in the playoff. The Montreal Hockey Club faced off against the other local Victorias team, with Ottawa getting a bye into the cup final since they were operating as a road team. The results were:
March 17, 1894 – Montreal Hockey Club 3-2 over Montreal Victorias
March 22, 1894 – Montreal Hockey Club 3-2 over Ottawa Hockey Club
The Montreal Hockey Club won the League Championship and Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup.
|Championships to 1894 Season for Amateur Hockey Association of Canada|
|Team||# of Championships||Premier Championship Points|
|Montreal Hockey Club||9 (1885-86, 88-94)||30 (+4)|
|Montreal Crystals||1 (1887)||4|
|Montreal Victorias||1 (1884)||4|
|McGill University||1 (1883)||2|
The AHAC was the first ever organized Ice Hockey league formed by four Montreal-based teams plus Ottawa. These five teams all played in the MWC Tournament so that 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.