Montreal Winter Carnival, 1883

In 1883, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA) and McGill University were both asked to participate in the Carnival by organizing for the first time ever an ice hockey tournament. MAAA did not field a team, but McGill University fielded its own team, and two more teams were invited to play in a three-team tournament.  They played partly outdoors on the Saint Lawrence River.

The first carnival tournament was held from January 26 to January 27. The Montreal Victorias, McGill University, and Quebec Hockey Club contested for a Tournament trophy called the Carnival Cup. McGill University was the winner of the challenge Tournament.


Cumulative Championships to 1883 Montreal Winter Carnival Tournament
Team # of Premier Championships Premier Championship Points
McGill University 1 (1883) 2 (+2)


The first MWC Tournament was a very modest affair, lasting only two days with each of the three teams playing one single game, but it became the beginning of the hockey league lineage that stretches to the modern day!

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.

Al Young
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