On December 8, 1886, the teams that made up the circuit for the Montreal Winter Carnival (MWC) decided to create a stand-alone hockey league that did not coincide with the popular winter festival. The league was called the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) and was made up by the Montreal Hockey Club, 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.
While the AHAC shared the same teams as the MWC, the AHAC was its own entity, bringing together the best players in Hockey to play in a dedicated league. This was the first time ever that a league dedicated to Hockey was created, following the format established by Baseball’s National League. The biggest difference was that the AHAC was purely Amateur.
The AHAC decided to change the method of play from last season to a ‘series’ between each of the teams, where each team would play every other team twice. The Ottawa Hockey Club did not attend and did not participate in the season.
1888 was Season 2 of play for the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada and took place 135 years ago.
January 13, 1888 to March 12, 1888
Montreal Hockey Club
# of Teams
Season Standings (Overall Champion Challenge Record)
As the two teams were tied at the end of the season, the first ever Playoffs took place. The playing of the game was tarnished with some scandal. The AHAC council convened to set the date of the playoff. Two players for the Victorias, Ashe and J. J. Arnton Jr. were injured, and the council set the date for the playoff before the players were recovered. The deciding vote for the date was cast by J. Stewart, who played for the Montreal HC team. Hodgson of Montreal scored the first goal at 4½ minutes, followed two minutes by a goal of Campbell for the Vics. 5½ minutes later Hodgson lifted a shot past Arnton in the Vic’s goal to put Montreal ahead to stay. The Vics protested that the goal was off-side to no avail. There was no more scoring in the match. The Montreal Daily Herald reporter praised referee Hamilton of the McGill Club, noting that both side broke the off-side rule often.