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.
The AHAC was the first league dedicated to Hockey attracting the game’s best players, following the format established by Baseball’s National League. The biggest difference was that the AHAC was purely Amateur.
The AHAC decided to return to the balanced schedule format from 1888 and 1893-1895, with each team playing one another twice. The Montreal Crystals were allowed to change their name to Shamrocks, which matched their new affiliation with the Montreal Shamrock A.A.A.
1896 was Season 10 of play for the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada and took place 127 years ago.
January 3, 1896 to March 7, 1896
# of Teams
Season Playoffs (Stanley Cup Challenges)
There were no Playoffs as the regular season winner was awarded to Cup.
The first successful challenge to the Cup came in February 1896 by the Winnipeg Victorias, the champions of the Manitoba Hockey Association (MHA). On February 14, Winnipeg beat defending champion Montreal Victorias, 2–0, becoming the first team outside the AHAC to win the Cup. Winnipeg took a 2–0 lead in the first half of the game on goals by Armytage and Campbell, then played on the defensive in the second half.