Open main menu

National Junior A Championship

  (Redirected from Royal Bank Cup)

The National Junior A Championship, is an annual ice hockey competition that determines the Canadian Junior A champion. It is played under the supervision of Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

National Junior A Championship
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2019 National Junior A Hockey Championship
SportIce hockey
Inaugural season1971
Most recent
Chilliwack Chiefs (1st)
Most titlesVernon Vipers (6)
TV partner(s)TSN
Sponsor(s)Hockey Canada
Canadian Junior Hockey League
Doyle Cup
Dudley Hewitt Cup
Fred Page Cup
Official websiteRoyal Bank Cup Website

The forerunner to the National Junior A Championship was the Royal Bank Cup, which ran from 1996 to 2018, and the Manitoba Centennial Cup, which ran for 25 years from 1971 to 1995 inclusive.



The current tournament structure is a five-team round-robin followed by a playoff. The participating teams are the four regional champions and the host team.

Fred Page Cup: Eastern Champion
Dudley Hewitt Cup: Central Champion
ANAVET Cup: Western Champion
Doyle Cup: Pacific Champion
Host Team: Predetermined by Canadian Junior Hockey League

From 1971 to 1978 and from 1982 to 1984, the Centennial Cup pitted the Abbott Cup champion (Western Canada) versus the Dudley Hewitt Cup champion (Eastern Canada). A three-team tournament format, splitting Eastern Canada into two regions, was introduced in 1979 and used until 1981. The Centennial Cup permanently moved back to the tournament format in 1986, this time adding a predetermined host team to the field. It later expanded to a five-team tournament in 1990 when the Abbott Cup series was discontinued in favour of allowing both the ANAVET and Doyle Cup winners to advance to the national championship. This format was carried over when the Royal Bank Cup was created in 1996.

The ANAVET and Doyle Cups were temporarily replaced by the Western Canada Cup, which determined the two Western seeds for the Royal Bank Cup, from 2013 to 2017.

National Junior A Championship historyEdit

National Junior A Championship winnersEdit

National Junior A Championship Round Robins
Year Champion Runner-Up Score Location
2019 Brooks, Alberta
2020 Portage la Prairie, Manitoba

Royal Bank Cup historyEdit

In May 1996, the inaugural Royal Bank Cup was held in Melfort, Saskatchewan, continuing the fine tradition of a National Junior ‘A’ championship. Each league across Canada sends their championship club to a regional qualifier, playing for the right to represent the region at the Royal Bank Cup tournament. The first ever winner of the Royal Bank Cup was the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Since the first Royal Bank Cup tournament, every tournament has been played as a round robin tournament with a host city/team and four regional champions competing. By 2013, 18 Royal Bank Cups had been awarded. The winner of the Doyle Cup as Pacific Region champions has won a leading ten times. The winner of the ANAVET Cup as Western Region champions and the winner of the Dudley Hewitt Cup as Central Region champions have both won twice. The winner of the Fred Page Cup as Eastern Region champions has also won twice. Although four host teams have won the Royal Bank Cup, two of which won their region to compete in the event they were hosting (Fort McMurray Oil Barons in 2000, Halifax Oland Exports in 2002) while two played strictly as hosts and not regional champions (Summerside Western Capitals in 1997, Weyburn Red Wings in 2005). In 2014, the Anavet Cup and Doyle Cup were retired in favour of the Western Canada Cup. The Western Canada Cup tournament included the champions of the four western leagues and a predetermined host city. The top two teams from event gain birth into the Royal Bank Cup. When the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League won the 2014 Royal Bank Cup, they gained entry into the tournament as the Western Canada Cup runner-up making them the first team in Centennial Cup/Royal Bank Cup history to win the national championship with out being the host or a regional champion.

Overtime is a common theme as the Royal Bank Cup, the longest game in RBC Cup history started on May 12, 2007 at Royal Bank Cup 2007 between the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the host Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League. The Spruce Kings won the game 3–2 6:01 into the fifth overtime period.[1] The game lasted 146:01, just short of the CJAHL record set by the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and the Pickering Panthers in the 2007 Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League playoffs (154:32).[2]

The Pembroke Lumber Kings won the 2011 Royal Bank Cup, and became the first Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) team to win the National Junior A Championship since the 1976 Champion Rockland Nationals. In 2015, the Portage Terriers broke a 41-year-old drought for the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, being the first team win the national Junior A championship since the 1974 Selkirk Steelers. The Terriers also became the first team to win the Royal Bank Cup as the host team since the 2004-05 Weyburn Red Wings. Also in 2015, the Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL became the first team in national Junior A history to lose back-to-back national titles.

To date, no teams from the Quebec Junior Hockey League, Superior International Junior Hockey League, or the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League have won the Royal Bank Cup.

In 2018, the championship was renamed the National Junior A Championship after RBC dropped their sponsorship of the event.

Royal Bank Cup winnersEdit

Royal Bank Cup Round Robins
Year Champion Runner-Up Score Location
1996 Vernon Vipers Melfort Mustangs 2–0 Melfort, Saskatchewan
1997 Summerside Western Capitals South Surrey Eagles 4–3 Summerside, Prince Edward Island
1998 South Surrey Eagles Weyburn Red Wings 4–1 Nanaimo, British Columbia
1999 Vernon Vipers Charlottetown Abbies 9–3 Yorkton, Saskatchewan
2000 Fort McMurray Oil Barons Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats 2–1 Fort McMurray, Alberta
2001 Camrose Kodiaks Flin Flon Bombers 5–0 Flin Flon, Manitoba
2002 Halifax Oland Exports OCN Blizzard 3–1 Halifax, Nova Scotia
2003 Humboldt Broncos Camrose Kodiaks 3–1 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
2004 Aurora Tigers Kindersley Klippers 7–1 Grande Prairie, Alberta
2005 Weyburn Red Wings Camrose Kodiaks 3–2 Weyburn, Saskatchewan
2006 Burnaby Express Yorkton Terriers 8–2 Brampton, Ontario
2007 Aurora Tigers Prince George Spruce Kings 3–1 Prince George, British Columbia
2008 Humboldt Broncos Camrose Kodiaks 1–0 Cornwall, Ontario
2009 Vernon Vipers Humboldt Broncos 2–0 Victoria, British Columbia
2010 Vernon Vipers Dauphin Kings 8–1 Dauphin, Manitoba
2011 Pembroke Lumber Kings Vernon Vipers 2–0 Camrose, Alberta
2012 Penticton Vees Woodstock Slammers 4–3 Humboldt, Saskatchewan
2013 Brooks Bandits Summerside Western Capitals 3–1 Summerside, Prince Edward Island
2014 Yorkton Terriers Carleton Place Canadians 4–3 OT Vernon, British Columbia
2015 Portage Terriers Carleton Place Canadians 5–2 Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
2016 West Kelowna Warriors Lloydminster Bobcats 4–0 Lloydminster, Saskatchewan
2017 Cobourg Cougars Brooks Bandits 3–2 OT Cobourg, Ontario
2018 Chilliwack Chiefs Wellington Dukes 4–2 Chilliwack, British Columbia

Manitoba Centennial Trophy historyEdit

The Manitoba Centennial Trophy was presented to the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) by the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association to commemorate their centennial year of 1970. It was in that year that the CAHA reconfigured their junior tier, creating two separate classifications – Major Junior and Junior "A”. The Major Junior teams were grouped into the three regional leagues that made up the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League (CMJHL), while the Junior "A" section included the remaining junior teams in the provincial/regional leagues that later formed the Canadian Junior Hockey League. It was determined that the Memorial Cup would become the new championship trophy for the CMJHL, with the Manitoba Centennial Trophy serving as the trophy for the champions of the new Junior "A" division.

The Red Deer Rustlers of the Alberta Junior Hockey League defeated the Charlottetown Islanders of the Island Junior Hockey League in 1971 to claim the inaugural Canadian Junior A Championship and Manitoba Centennial Trophy, often referred to as the "Centennial Cup". The final Centennial Cup was awarded to the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in 1995.

The 1972 Centennial Cup was the focus of national attention. The Guelph CMC's of the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League were in the final game of a four game sweep in the National Final against the Red Deer Rustlers when their leading scorer Paul Fendley lost his helmet during a body check and struck his head on the ice, knocking him into a coma. The National Hockey League prospect regained consciousness and died two days later from head trauma.[3]

The 1990 Centennial Cup marked the only year that the national championship was decided between two teams from the same province or league. The host Vernon Lakers defeated the New Westminster Royals 6–5 in overtime to win the national championship. Both teams were members of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

Manitoba Centennial Trophy winnersEdit

Centennial Cup Final/Round Robin
Year Eastern Finalist Western Finalist Scores (Best of 7) Primary Location
1971 Charlottetown Islanders Red Deer Rustlers 2-4 (3-6, 3-7, 6-4, 4-7, 7-2, 4-7) Charlottetown, PEI
1972 Guelph CMC's Red Deer Rustlers 4-0 (4-2, 3-2, 3-1, 3-0) Guelph, Ontario
1973 Pembroke Lumber Kings Portage Terriers 1-4 (5-6 OT, 2-4, 1-3, 6-4, 2-4) Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
1974 Smiths Falls Bears Selkirk Steelers 3-4 (4-5, 4-7, 3-0, 1-2, 6-4, 5-4 OT, 0-1 OT) Nepean, Ontario
1975 Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters Spruce Grove Mets 2-4 (4-2, 3-2, 1-4, 2-5, 3-6, 4-6) Edmonton, Alberta
1976 Rockland Nationals Spruce Grove Mets 4-1 (9-4, 7-1, 5-3, 3-4, 7-3) Rockland, Ontario
1977 Pembroke Lumber Kings Prince Albert Raiders 0-4 (4-6, 4-5, 3-6, 3-4) Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
1978 Guelph Platers Prince Albert Raiders 4–0 (7-2, 6-2, 6-3, 8-2) Guelph, Ontario
Year Champion Runner-Up Score Location
1979 Prince Albert Raiders Sherwood-Parkdale Metros 5–4 OT Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
1980 Red Deer Rustlers North York Rangers 3–2 North York, Ontario
1981 Prince Albert Raiders Belleville Bulls 6–2 Halifax, Nova Scotia
Year Eastern Finalist Western Finalist Scores (Best of 7) Primary Location
1982 Guelph Platers Prince Albert Raiders 0–4 (4-9, 3-7, 3-6, 4-8) Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
1983 North York Rangers Abbotsford Flyers 4–0 (9-6, 8-5, 10-3, 10-2) North York, Ontario
1984 Orillia Travelways Weyburn Red Wings 3–4 (6-5, 4-6, 4-7, 2-1, 8-5, 4-5, 0-3) Weyburn, Saskatchewan
Year Champion Runner-Up Score Location
1985 Orillia Travelways Penticton Knights 4–2 Orillia, Ontario
1986 Penticton Knights Cole Harbour Colts 7–4 Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
1987 Richmond Sockeyes Humboldt Broncos 5–2 Humboldt, Saskatchewan
1988 Notre Dame Hounds Halifax Lions 3–2 Pembroke, Ontario
1989 Thunder Bay Flyers Summerside Western Capitals 4–1 Summerside, PEI
1990 Vernon Lakers New Westminster Royals 6–5 OT Vernon, British Columbia
1991 Vernon Lakers Sudbury Cubs 8–4 Sudbury, Ontario
1992 Thunder Bay Flyers Winkler Flyers 10–1 Winnipeg, Manitoba
1993 Kelowna Spartans Chateauguay Elites 7–2 Amherst, Nova Scotia
1994 Olds Grizzlys Kelowna Spartans 5–4 OT Olds, Alberta
1995 Calgary Canucks Gloucester Rangers 5–4 OT Gloucester, Ontario

Most championships by provinceEdit

Winners of the Centennial Cup (1971–1995), Royal Bank Cup (1996–2018) and National Junior A Championship (2019–) by province.

Rank Province Champions Hosts
1 British Columbia 14 6
2 Ontario 11 13
3 Saskatchewan 10 10
4 Alberta 8 5
5 Manitoba 3 5
6 Prince Edward Island 1 5
7 Nova Scotia 1 4
Total 48 48

*Note: The province of Saskatchewan has hosted the tournament as indicated. However, the 2016 RBC Cup was hosted by the Lloydminster Bobcats, members of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, who play their games in an arena on the Saskatchewan side of their biprovincial border city.

Most championships by teamEdit

Winners of the Centennial Cup (1971–1995), Royal Bank Cup (1996–2018) and National Junior A Championship (2019–) by team.

There has been a consecutive national champion on three occasions: the Prince Albert Raiders won in 1981 and 1982, while the Vernon Lakers/Vipers won in 1990 and 1991 (as the Lakers), and again in 2009 and 2010 (as the Vipers).

The Prince Albert Raiders also hold a record for appearing in the championship final three consecutive times, in 1977, 1978 and 1979. The Raiders were a nearly unstoppable powerhouse in Junior A hockey at that time, reaching the national finals five times in six years (1977, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982), while winning a total of four championships (1977, 1979, 1981, 1982) during that span. The Raiders moved up to Major Junior after their 1982 Junior A championship, where they soon (1985) won the national championship at that level.

Team Province Champions
Vernon Lakers/Vipers British Columbia 6
Prince Albert Raiders Saskatchewan 4
Aurora Tigers Ontario 2
Guelph CMC's/Platers Ontario 2
Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan 2
Penticton Knights/Vees British Columbia 2
Portage Terriers Manitoba 2
Red Deer Rustlers Alberta 2
Thunder Bay Flyers Ontario 2
Weyburn Red Wings Saskatchewan 2
West Kelowna Warriors British Columbia 1
Burnaby Express British Columbia 1
Calgary Canucks Alberta 1
Camrose Kodiaks Alberta 1
Cobourg Cougars Ontario 1
Fort McMurray Oil Barons Alberta 1
Halifax Oland Exports Nova Scotia 1
Kelowna Spartans British Columbia 1
North York Rangers Ontario 1
Notre Dame Hounds Saskatchewan 1
Olds Grizzlys Alberta 1
Orillia Travelways Ontario 1
Pembroke Lumber Kings Ontario 1
Richmond Sockeyes British Columbia 1
Rockland Nationals Ontario 1
Selkirk Steelers Manitoba 1
South Surrey Eagles British Columbia 1
Spruce Grove Mets Alberta 1
Summerside Western Capitals Prince Edward Island 1
Brooks Bandits Alberta 1
Yorkton Terriers Saskatchewan 1
Chilliwack Chiefs British Columbia 1
Total for 32 Teams 48

Roland Mercier TrophyEdit

The Roland Mercier Trophy is awarded to the Most Valuable Player of the National Junior A Championship.

Game scoring recordsEdit

Records included in this section took place in either Royal Bank Cup and Manitoba Centennial Cup tournament games and Manitoba Centennial Cup National Final Series games only.

  • Most Goals by Both Teams:
  • Least Goals by Both Teams:
  • Most Goals by Single Team:
  • Largest Spread in a Game:
  • Biggest Shutout Victory:
  • Longest Overtime Game:


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Gamesheet: Pickering at Toronto - Sat, Feb 10, 2007".
  3. ^ "National Champions History".