St. Catharines Saints

The St. Catharines Saints was a minor league ice hockey team in St. Catharines, Ontario. It played in the American Hockey League from 1982 to 1986 as the farm team of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

St. Catharines Saints
Newmarket Saints.gif
CitySt. Catharines, Ontario
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
Home arenaGarden City Arena
ColoursBlue and white
Owner(s)Maple Leaf Gardens Limited
AffiliatesToronto Maple Leafs
Franchise history
1978–1982New Brunswick Hawks
1982–1986St. Catharines Saints
1986–1991Newmarket Saints
1991–2005St. John's Maple Leafs
2005–presentToronto Marlies


The Moncton-based New Brunswick Hawks had been established in 1978 as members of the American Hockey League (AHL),[1] and were jointly operated by the Chicago Black Hawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs as their farm team.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Maple Leaf Gardens Limited (MLGL) and the Black Hawks each owned half of the franchise.[8][9][10][11]

By 1980, Harold Ballard, owner of the Leafs, had decided that they needed a developmental team of their own,[9] with a spokesperson citing the limited number of roster spots as the rationale for the move.[2][3] MLGL launched the Cincinnati Tigers in the old Central Hockey League in 1981 to serve as their own affiliate, while retaining their share of the New Brunswick Hawks.[2][3][8][12][13][14] However, after the Tigers averaged only 1,500 fans and lost $750,000 in their first season, the Leafs folded the Tigers in the spring of 1982.[4][12][13][15][16] That same summer, with Chicago having already pulled out of New Brunswick in favour of affiliating with the Springfield Indians on their own,[4][13][16][17] the Maple Leafs announced that they would not operate the team in Moncton the following year after they couldn't come to terms with the city on a new arena lease,[4][13][17] even though the team had the fifth highest attendance in the league.[18]

The Maple Leafs wanted to relocate the team closer to Toronto, with both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls in Ontario potential destinations for the franchise.[12][15][19] When MLGL applied to the AHL to relocate the New Brunswick Hawks to St. Catharines, the nearby Buffalo Sabres initially blocked the move due to objections to a team moving into their territory without prior discussions with them.[13][20][21][22][23][24] However, following protests by fans in St. Catharines[25] and threats by Ballard to suspend the Moncton franchise to prevent another AHL team from playing in the city[13] and to sue the Sabres and NHL for $20 million,[22][23] the relocation was approved unanimously and the franchise became the St. Catharines Saints, serving as the Maple Leafs' primary affiliate.[12][20][23][26][27] At the same AHL Board of Governors meeting, the Edmonton Oilers received approval to purchase a new AHL franchise to replace the departed Hawks in Moncton,[20][23][26][27] leading to establishment of the Moncton Alpines as their affiliate that fall.[27][28]

Following the 1985–1986 season, the team moved to Newmarket, Ontario, and became the Newmarket Saints.

An earlier team under this name played in the OHA Senior League in the 1940s and '50s.


Former players include:

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL Points Goals
1982–83 80 33 41 6 72 335 368 6th, South
1983–84 80 43 31 6 92 364 346 3rd, South
1984–85 80 24 50 6 54 272 391 7th, South
1985–86 80 38 37 5 81 304 308 3rd, South
1986–87 80 28 48 4 60 226 337 7th, South
1987–88 80 33 33 8 6 80 282 328 6th, South
1988–89 80 38 36 6 82 339 334 4th, South
1989–90 80 31 33 16 78 305 318 5th, South
1990–91 80 26 45 9 61 278 317 8th, South


Season 1st round 2nd round Finals
1982–83 Out of Playoffs
1983–84 L, 3–4, Rochester
1984–85 Out of Playoffs
1985–86 W, 4–2, Binghamton L, 3–4, Hershey
1986–87 Out of Playoffs
1987–88 Out of Playoffs
1988–89 L, 1–4, Adirondack
1989–90 Out of Playoffs
1990–91 Out of Playoffs

Team recordsEdit

Penalty minutes:
Career goals:
Career assists:
Career points:
Career penalty minutes:
Career goaltending wins:
Career shutouts:
Career games:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sports roundup". The Globe and Mail. 1978-06-24.
  2. ^ a b c "Leafs get new farm club in Central Hockey League". The Globe and Mail. 1981-06-24.
  3. ^ a b c Campbell, Neil (1981-06-17). "Cincinnati may get Leaf farm team". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ a b c d "Leaf team to leave Moncton". Toronto Star. 1982-06-02.
  5. ^ Houston, William (1982-02-09). "Hockey notebook Dull Sabres have pundits speculating". The Globe and Mail.
  6. ^ "Sports roundup". The Globe and Mail. 1978-07-08.
  7. ^ "Leafs, Hawks to Moncton". Toronto Star. 1978-06-20.
  8. ^ a b Houston, William (1982-03-31). "'Everything has price,' Ballard says; it's $50 million for Leafs. Gardens". The Globe and Mail.
  9. ^ a b "Ballard wants Leafs to have own farm club". The Globe and Mail. 1980-03-21.
  10. ^ "Across Canada: No liquor licence for Leafs-Hawks farm club". The Globe and Mail. 1978-11-09.
  11. ^ "AHL Hawks get Tessier". The Globe and Mail. 1981-08-22.
  12. ^ a b c d "Leafs place AHL team in St. Kitts". The Globe and Mail. 1982-06-22.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Campbell, Neil (1982-07-06). "AHL rejects shift of Leaf farm club". The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ "Saints set for debut in Garden City Arena". The Globe and Mail. 1982-10-09.
  15. ^ a b Campbell, Neil (1982-06-11). "Salming wins Conacher award Niagara may get Leaf farm team". The Globe and Mail.
  16. ^ a b Campbell, Neil (1982-05-28). "It's musical chairs on ice as CHL franchises switch". The Globe and Mail.
  17. ^ a b "Leafs to move AHL franchise". The Globe and Mail. 1982-06-02.
  18. ^ Campbell, Neil (1982-06-03). "Fans fail to save Hawks". The Globe and Mail.
  19. ^ Houston, William (1982-06-08). "Ballard stymies Canadian division". The Globe and Mail.
  20. ^ a b c "AHL adds three teams in expansion". The Globe and Mail. 1982-07-24.
  21. ^ "Sports lines". Pittsburgh Press. 1982-07-23.
  22. ^ a b "Sabres settle dispute with Leafs". Montreal Gazette. 1982-07-23.
  23. ^ a b c d Kane, Mike (1982-07-24). "Red Wings return to North as AHL swells to 13 teams". Schenectady Gazette.
  24. ^ "Sabres won't oppose move". Observer–Reporter. 1982-07-23.
  25. ^ Herod, Doug (2013-08-17). "We really cared about Saints — or so we thought". St. Catharines Standard. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  26. ^ a b McMillan, Tom (1982-07-24). "Sports briefing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  27. ^ a b c Leger, Normand (1982-07-26). "Oilers a Moncton - Les details connus cette semaine". L'Évangéline.
  28. ^ ""Les Alpines": club ferme des Oilers". L'Évangéline. 1982-08-03.