SIHR’s Behind the Boards

The Alexander Cup

SIHR’s Behind the Boards

The Alexander Cup

Society for International Hockey Research
Posted October 18, 2020

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The Alexander Cup

The CAHA inagurated the Viscount Alexander Cup to help give the smaller centers in Canada a chance for national recognition (fostering the game at all levels). This was in response to the monopoly the bigger cities were gathering at the Allan Cup level. The smaller centers weren't able to offer salaries and other compensations (jobs) that the big cities were offering and the larger cities were beginning to show a trend of sending their teams to the finals each year. The best players, who had graced the lineups of the smaller centers in previous seasons in the 1930s and 1940s, were now being lured to the cities in an almost unfair talent recruiting practice. The CAHA may have feared this continued practice would ruin hockey in the smaller centers. The CAHA then drew from its largest cities, which were generating the largest amounts of gate receipts in the Allan Cup playdowns, for the 1950-51 playoffs (and money for their teams and leagues). The leagues included:

Western Canada Major Senior Hockey League: Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon Ontario Major Senior Hockey Association: Toronto St.Michael Monarchs, Toronto Marlboros, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton Quebec Major Senior Hockey League: Valleyfield, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Shawinigan Falls, Sherbrooke, Chicoutimi Maritime Major Senior Hockey League: Charlottetown, Moncton, Halifax, Saint John Cape Breton Major Senior Hockey League: Sydney, North Sydney, Glace Bay

1) A round robin elminiation playoff was developed for the 1950-51 WCMHL playdowns, Saskatoon winning
2) The other leagues used the regular playoff elminiation formats to declare their champions.
3) MMHL met the CBMHL in the quarterfinal, Sydney defeating Charlottetown
4) WCMHL met in one semi-final, Toronto St.Michaels defeating Saskatoon
5) QMHL drew the bye to the other semi-final. In this semi-final Valleyfield defeated Sydney
6) Valleyfield defeated Toronto St.Michaels in the 1950-51 Alexander Cup final

The level of these five leagues was on a par with many of the minor pro leagues operating in the U.S. The OMHA opted to return to the Allan Cup level for 1951-52; the WCMHL decided to take the pro route and joined the PCHL, forerunner of the old minor pro WHL. This left three leagues vying for the Alexander Cup, and the Cup would finish its short life in the eastern Canada ranks, without competition from across the nation.

1) The 1950-51 MMHL and CBMHL realigned to form a bigger MMHL for 1951-52: Saint John, Charlottetown, Sydney, Halifax, Moncton, Glace Bay
2) With only two leagues remaining, the Alexander Cup playdowns were decidedly shorter. Here Quebec City defeated Saint John in the 1951-52 final.

As mentioned, the QMHL left the CAHA jurisdiction on March 9, 1953 and were elminated from Alexander Cup play as a result. Charlottetown defeated Halifax for the 1952-53 Alexander Cup.

The Maritime Major shrunk to four clubs in 1953-54 and were the only remaining Major Senior league left in the nation: Sydney, Halifax, Glace Bay, Charlottetown. Halifax defeated Sydney in the last Alexander Cup series. The CAHA scrapped the Cup and series because the original intent was for teams to playoff from across the nation (which was no longer possible with the loss of two of the leagues: the WCMHL and OMHA, plus the suspension of the QMHL).

Allan Cup
Looking at the Allan Cup: nothing changed. All the CAHA branches continued to send their league champions on the long playoff road during these years and well into the 1960s. If you notice the championship list, notice their population base size of the champions. They're noteably smaller--just as the CAHA had intended. However, the fan base the CAHA had enjoyed in the late 1940s at the Allan Cup level (with gate receipts and attendances well into thousands per game, levels any minor pro league would like) was gone with the major seniors, and some of the luster of the Allan Cup finals was lost because the CAHA had formed the Alexander Cup competition. But this did help maintain and develop hockey in the smaller centers.

So in review and attempting to compare the amateur levels or categories of the CAHA (established in 1984) to the early 1950s CAHA hockey, the Alexander Cup might fit in like this (mens hockey for ages above the junior age level):

AAAA-Alexander Cup
AAA-Allan Cup
AA-Intermediate A
A-Intermediate B

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