Tag: 1st International Tournament

Al Young is a sports stats enthusiast and budding web designer. He loves how hockey history created legends and wanted to combine that with how hockey stats can be tell stories as well. IceHockeyLeagues.com is another web site dedicated to the FanSeeStats.com group of 'stats-as-stories' web properties.

Montreal Winter Carnival, 1886 (Cancelled)

In 1886, the first ever hockey tournament that debuted at the 1883 Montreal Winter Carnival had to be cancelled. A smallpox epidemic was affecting Montreal particularly hard. An invitation to participate in a tournament played out of Montreal allowed some of the teams to fashion some kind of championship beside the Carnival Cup.

1886 saw no Carnival Cup winner, but did see The Montreal Hockey Club win a smaller tournament held in Burlington, Vermont.

Championships to 1886 Burlington Winter Carnival Tournament
Team # of Premier Championships Premier Championship Points
Montreal Hockey Club 2 (1885-86) 5 (+1)
Montreal Victorias 1 (1884) 4
McGill University 1 (1883) 2

The MWC Tournament had to be cancelled but three of the four teams from 1885 were invited to participate in a first-ever international tournament in Burlington, Vermont. The Montreal Hockey Club and Montreal Crystals accepted while Ottawa Hockey Club could not attend. The Burlington Winter Carnival Tournament was played on February 26 on Lake Champlain. The two Canadian teams and an American team made up of local hospitality staff (Van Ness House) who had never played hockey held a round-robin tournament that resulted in the Montreal Hockey Club winning.

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.

The Legacy of the Montreal Winter Carnival

The Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament would see Canada’s (and the World’s) elite hockey clubs play for supremacy between 1883 and 1889. The MWC Tournament was the first ever organized ice hockey tournament that lead to the creation of the first ice hockey league, making the MWC Tournament the direct predecessor to the AHAC for historical and statistical purposes.

The Tournament helped establish Ice Hockey through the following important events:

  • First organized inter-city ice hockey competition, establishing Montreal as the premier ice hockey city in 1883.
  • First international ice hockey tournament when Tournament was moved to Vermont, USA for one year in 1886.
  • The top tournament teams went on to form first ice hockey league in 1887.
  • Canada’s Governor General Lord Stanley was inspired by watching MWC Tournament play in 1889 to the point that he considered donating a Championship Cup to Canada’s top hockey teams. He would later donate the Stanley Cup in 1893, ten years after the Tournament was established.

Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament Summary:

Year Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament Location Champion # of Teams
1883 St. Lawrence River McGill University 3
1884 McGill University’s Rink Montreal Victorias 5
1885 Montreal Crystals’ Rink Montreal Hockey Club 5
1886 Cancelled due to smallpox epidemic* Montreal Hockey Club
1887 Various Rinks Montreal Hockey Club 4
1888 Cancelled due to AHAC none nil
1889 Montreal Victorias’ Rink Montreal Victorias 4

 * Tournament played in Vermont, USA.


Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament Cumulative Standings:

Montreal Victorias 11 7 3 1 18 7 2/4
Montreal Hockey Club 7 5 1 1 8 2 2/3
McGill University 11 5 5 1 10 23 1/5
Ottawa Hockey Club 7 3 3 1 8 5 0/2
Montreal Crystals 8 2 6 0 10 13 0/4
Quebec Hockey Club 2 0 0 2 2 2 0/1
Montreal Wanderers 3 0 3 0 0 1 0/1
Montreal Football Club 1 0 1 0 0 3 0/1

TW = Tournaments Won / TP = Tournaments Played


Montreal Winter Carnival Hockey Tournament Cumulative Championship Points

Championships to 1889 Montreal Winter Carnival Tournament (Final)
Team # of MWC Championships MWC Championship Points
Montreal Hockey Club 3 (1885-87) 8
Montreal Victorias 2 (1884,89) 7
McGill University 1 (1883) 2