Western Canada Junior Hockey League (1948–1956)
The Western Canada Junior Hockey League was a junior ice hockey based in Alberta and Saskatchewan from 1948 until 1956. It was formed by teams which sought a higher level of competition and more formal organization. Its teams were eligible for the Memorial Cup as the national junior champion of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, and were runners-up in five seasons as the Abbott Cup junior champion of Western Canada.
The Western Canada Junior Hockey League (WCJHL) formed in 1948 after junior ice hockey teams from Alberta and Saskatchewan wanted to form a league with a higher level of competition with more formal organization by a dedicated league governor rather than a provincial governing body. All four teams from the Southern Alberta Junior Hockey League combined with two teams from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to become a six-team league. The remaining junior teams in Saskatchewan reorganized as the South Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for the 1948–49 season. Earlier in 1948, the stronger junior teams based in Saskatchewan and Manitoba proposed an inter-provincial league. Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association president Jimmy Dunn was opposed to the idea since he felt it would have a negative effect on junior hockey in Winnipeg.
The WCJHL operated under the joint jurisdiction of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association and the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association, and participated in the playoffs for the Memorial Cup as organized by the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). Teams from the WCJHL won the Abbott Cup as the junior champions of Western Canada in five seasons, which included the Regina Pats in 1950, 1952, 1955, 1956, and the Edmonton Oil Kings in 1954. In each of these seasons, the WCJHL team was a runner-up to the Eastern Canada champion which won the Memorial Cup final as the national junior champion.
The WCJHL and other junior teams in Western Canada addressed the imbalance in Memorial Cup competition in a meeting with CAHA president W. B. George in August 1954. The teams sought permission for any league champion to add three players in the inter-provincial playoffs for the Memorial Cup, and contended that the imbalance in competition caused lack of spectator interest and less prestige for the event. At the next CAHA meeting in January 1955, the request for three additional players for the Abbott Cup representative was approved.
The WCJHL folded in 1958 and the remaining four teams returned to their respective provincial junior leagues.
List of league governors:
List of teams that played in the WCJHL:
|Bellevue Lions||1948–1949||Bellevue, Alberta|
|Crow's Nest Pass Lions||1949–1951||Bellevue, Alberta|
|Crow's Nest Pass Coalers||1951–1953||Bellevue, Alberta|
|Calgary Buffaloes||1948–1954||Calgary, Alberta|
|Edmonton Oil Kings||1951–1956||Edmonton, Alberta|
|Lethbridge Native Sons||1948–1956||Lethbridge, Alberta|
|Medicine Hat Tigers||1948–1956||Medicine Hat, Alberta|
|Moose Jaw Canucks||1948–1955||Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan|
|Regina Pats||1948–1956||Regina, Saskatchewan|
|2||Moose Jaw Canucks||26||17||8||1||52||139||94|
|4||Lethbridge Native Sons||32||13||19||0||36||105||139|
|5||Medicine Hat Tigers||31||11||17||3||30||123||147|
|1||Lethbridge Native Sons||40||30||10||0||60||232||139|
|2||Moose Jaw Canucks||40||22||18||0||44||162||180|
|4||Medicine Hat Tigers||40||17||21||2||36||174||194|
|5||Crow's Nest Pass Lions||40||16||24||0||32||191||221|
|1||Lethbridge Native Sons||40||29||10||1||59||226||130|
|3||Crow's Nest Pass Lions||40||18||20||2||38||175||197|
|4||Medicine Hat Tigers||40||18||21||1||37||150||218|
|5||Moose Jaw Canucks||40||16||22||2||34||147||160|
|2||Edmonton Oil Kings||44||29||14||1||59||234||160|
|3||Lethbridge Native Sons||44||27||15||2||56||232||168|
|5||Moose Jaw Canucks||44||21||23||0||42||178||171|
|6||Crow's Nest Pass Coalers||44||18||25||1||37||219||289|
|7||Medicine Hat Tigers||44||11||30||3||25||171||247|
|1||Edmonton Oil Kings||36||28||6||2||58||218||97|
|3||Lethbridge Native Sons||36||19||12||5||43||214||166|
|5||Moose Jaw Canucks||36||13||23||0||26||164||209|
|6||Medicine Hat Tigers||36||12||22||2||26||158||207|
|7||Crow's Nest Pass Coalers||36||8||27||1||17||145||239|
|1||Edmonton Oil Kings||36||33||3||0||55||263||84|
|3||Lethbridge Native Sons||36||19||17||0||30||183||171|
|4||Moose Jaw Canucks||36||17||19||0||29||166||191|
|5||Medicine Hat Tigers||36||13||23||0||22||144||187|
|2||Lethbridge Native Sons||40||25||15||0||50||169||163|
|3||Edmonton Oil Kings||40||23||16||1||47||173||115|
|4||Medicine Hat Tigers||40||16||23||1||33||163||167|
|5||Moose Jaw Canucks||40||5||35||0||10||100||264|
|2||Edmonton Oil Kings||36||17||19||0||34||150||143|
|3||Lethbridge Native Sons||48||24||24||0||32||223||233|
|4||Medicine Hat Tigers||48||18||29||1||29||173||219|
- "Western Canada Junior Hockey League history and statistics". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "Junior Bosses Confer On New Hockey Set-Up". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. April 13, 1948. p. 16.
- Lapp, Richard M.; Macaulay, Alec (1997). The Memorial Cup: Canada's National Junior Hockey Championship. Madeira Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing. pp. 89–106. ISBN 1-55017-170-4.
- Hooper, Al (August 2, 1954). "Three Replacements Sought For West Champs". Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg, Manitoba. p. 13.
- "Western Junior Hockey Men Seeking Entirely New Deal". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. July 29, 1954. p. 7.
- "CAHA Hopes To Reduce Budget To 55 Thousand". Winnipeg Tribune. Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 10, 1955. p. 16.
- "22 Home Games For Juniors". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. September 17, 1951. p. 12.
- Pilling, Don (July 28, 1953). "Don Pilling". Lethbridge Herald. Lethbridge, Alberta. p. 7.
- "1948–49 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1949–50 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1950–51 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1951–52 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1952–53 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1953–54 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1954–55 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.
- "1955–56 Western Canada Junior Hockey League Standings". Hockey Database. Retrieved December 16, 2020.