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
ColorsBlue and white
Owner(s)Maple Leaf Gardens Limited
AffiliateToronto 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


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

Team recordsEdit

Goals: Bruce Boudreau (50, 1982–83)
Assists: Bruce Boudreau (72, 1982–83)
Points: Bruce Boudreau (122, 1982–83)
Penalty minutes: Leigh Verstraete (300, 1985–86)
GAA (min. 20 games): Allan Bester (3.64, 1985–86)
SV% (min. 20 games): Allan Bester (.881, 1985–86)
Career goals: Bruce Boudreau (97)
Career assists: Bruce Boudreau (134)
Career points: Bruce Boudreau (231)
Career penalty minutes: Leigh Verstraete (868)
Career goaltending wins: Tim Bernhardt (36)
Career shutouts: Bob Parent (3)
Career games: Craig Muni (269)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sports roundup". The Globe and Mail. June 24, 1978.
  2. ^ a b c "Leafs get new farm club in Central Hockey League". The Globe and Mail. June 24, 1981.
  3. ^ a b c Campbell, Neil (June 17, 1981). "Cincinnati may get Leaf farm team". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ a b c d "Leaf team to leave Moncton". Toronto Star. June 2, 1982.
  5. ^ Houston, William (February 9, 1982). "Hockey notebook Dull Sabres have pundits speculating". The Globe and Mail.
  6. ^ "Sports roundup". The Globe and Mail. July 8, 1978.
  7. ^ "Leafs, Hawks to Moncton". Toronto Star. June 20, 1978.
  8. ^ a b Houston, William (March 31, 1982). "'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. March 21, 1980.
  10. ^ "Across Canada: No liquor licence for Leafs-Hawks farm club". The Globe and Mail. November 9, 1978.
  11. ^ "AHL Hawks get Tessier". The Globe and Mail. August 22, 1981.
  12. ^ a b c d "Leafs place AHL team in St. Kitts". The Globe and Mail. June 22, 1982.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Campbell, Neil (July 6, 1982). "AHL rejects shift of Leaf farm club". The Globe and Mail.
  14. ^ "Saints set for debut in Garden City Arena". The Globe and Mail. October 9, 1982.
  15. ^ a b Campbell, Neil (June 11, 1982). "Salming wins Conacher award Niagara may get Leaf farm team". The Globe and Mail.
  16. ^ a b Campbell, Neil (May 28, 1982). "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. June 2, 1982.
  18. ^ Campbell, Neil (June 3, 1982). "Fans fail to save Hawks". The Globe and Mail.
  19. ^ Houston, William (June 8, 1982). "Ballard stymies Canadian division". The Globe and Mail.
  20. ^ a b c "AHL adds three teams in expansion". The Globe and Mail. July 24, 1982.
  21. ^ "Sports lines". The Pittsburgh Press. July 23, 1982.
  22. ^ a b "Sabres settle dispute with Leafs". Montreal Gazette. July 23, 1982.
  23. ^ a b c d Kane, Mike (July 24, 1982). "Red Wings return to North as AHL swells to 13 teams". Schenectady Gazette.
  24. ^ "Sabres won't oppose move". Observer–Reporter. July 23, 1982.
  25. ^ Herod, Doug (August 17, 2013). "We really cared about Saints — or so we thought". St. Catharines Standard. Archived from the original on September 28, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  26. ^ a b McMillan, Tom (July 24, 1982). "Sports briefing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  27. ^ a b c Leger, Normand (July 26, 1982). "Oilers a Moncton - Les details connus cette semaine". L'Évangéline.
  28. ^ ""Les Alpines": club ferme des Oilers". L'Évangéline. August 3, 1982.
  29. ^ "St. Catharines Saints [AHL] all-time player list at". HockeyDB. Retrieved October 18, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)