In 1887, the teams that made up the main circuit for the Montreal Winter Carnival decided to create a stand-alone hockey league that did not coincide with the popular winter festival. The powerful Montreal Hockey Club was joined by other MWC teams: McGill University, Montreal Crystals, Montreal Victorias, and the Ottawa Hockey Club. These five teams participated in a season of series challenges at the Crystal and Victoria hockey rinks, following the same format found in the predecessor Montreal Winter Carnival.
The first season played in 1887 (played from January 7 to March 11) saw The Montreal Crystals win the challenge Tournament by winning the last game of the season.
|Championships to 1887 Season for Amateur Hockey Association of Canada
Carried over from 1886 Burlington Winter Carnvial
|Team||# of Championships||Premier Championship Points|
|Montreal Hockey Club||2 (1885-86)||5|
|Montreal Crystals||1 (1887)||4 (+4)|
|Montreal Victorias||1 (1884)||4|
|McGill University||1 (1883)||2|
Starting in 1883 with only three teams playing three games over two days, the humble beginnings of the MWC Hockey Tournament lead to the creation of the first persistent league. Four Montreal-based teams plus one team from Ottawa played in the MWC and also formed the AHAC in 1887. It is because of this direct linkage the MWC Hockey Tournament is considered to be the direct predecessor to the AHAC for historical and statistical purposes.