The Allan Cup was donated by Sir H. Montague Allan, C.V.O. shortly after the Stanley Cup became the championship trophy of the professional hockey clubs. While the Stanley Cup was an amateur trophy the proceeds from the Cup games went to the competing teams, but this led to abuses of the principles of amateurism, owing to clubs gathering star players from all parts of the country, regardless of cost, knowing that if they got into a Stanley Cup series their share of the receipts would take care of the extra expenses in building up a championship team.
Upon the organization of the professional league the senior player who did not turn pro, retired from the game, which reduced senior amateur hockey to practically an intermediate basis, which, of course, greatly discouraged those interested in the amateur game, and it was at this stage that Mr. Northy prevailed upon Sir Montague to offer a trophy for the encouragement of the amateurs, and to safeguard it with such rules and regulations as to prevent it from ever becoming a menace to the sport it was designed to foster. It was decided to make the cup a challenge trophy open to any senior club having won the championship of its league that year. The surplus proceeds after paying the legitimate expenses of the competing teams to be given to charity.
The Cup was presented to the Victoria Hockey Club of Montreal, and to be defended by the champion of their league that year. The Cliffsides of Ottawa was the first club to defend the Cup as champions of the league in which the Cup was held. The Queen’s University team of Kingston were the first challengers and were successful in winning the first series of matches for its possession.
From this time on interest in the Allan Cup became greater each year until the challenges became so numerous that it was impossible for any team holding the Cup to defend it against all those clubs sending in challenges.
The trustees then arranged elimination games between teams from the the same territory and also limited the number of times the holders of the cup could be called upon to defend it in one season to three. Even this did not entirely eliminate the difficulties that the trustees had to contend with, and it was quite evident that some other method would have to be adopted in order to give satisfaction.
McGill University Hockey Club was the first ever hockey club and came into being in 1877. The club was followed shortly after in 1881 by the Montreal Victorias.
In 1914, Mr. Claude Robinson, who had for some time been acting as Western representative for the trustees, suggested that a governing body be formed. This idea was looked upon with favor by the trustees, and Mr. Robinson was asked to communicate with the various leagues and associations, and arrange for a meeting of representatives to discuss the project. This meeting took place in Ottawa at the close of the annual meeting of the A.A.U of C. in December, 1914, when Mr. Robinson outlined his plan, which met with the unanimous support of those present, and the Canadian Hockey Association was formed with branches in the Provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Dr. W.F. Taylor, of Winnipeg, was its first President.
The “Allan Cup” was accepted as the trophy emblematic of the senior amateur hockey championship of Canada, under the rules and regulations as enacted by the trustees of the Cup, and in accordance with the Deed of Trust.
The trustees continued to disburse a portion of the surplus funds to charity, but retained an amount each year for the purpose of building up a reserve fund to guard against the possibility of the receipts in some years being insufficient to meet the expenses of the competing teams.
During the period of the war it was difficult to get representatives from the various branches to attend meetings of the Association, owing to the heavy cost of sending delegates, and in order to prevent representation by proxy it was agreed between the trustees from each Association that the expenses of one delegate from each branch be paid out of Cup funds, and that sufficient money be provided by the trustees to permit the proper functioning of the Association as a governing body.
In 1920, the trustees financed the cost of sending a Canadian team to compete in the Olympic games in Antwerp, and again in 1924 the sum of five thousand dollars was give to the Canadian Olympic Committee towards the expenses of the team that represented Canada at Chamonix.
The Canadian Hockey Association has fully justified its existance by becoming one of the largest governing bodies of amateur sport in Canada, and Mr. Claude Robinson, of Winnipeg, is entitled to be known as its founder.
In 1928 the Allan Cup was donated outright to the Canadian Hockey Association, the formal acceptance taking place at the annual meeting at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa in march, when a Board of Trustees, consisting of C.A.H.A members, was appointed for one year; the personnel being: S.P. Quilty, Ottawa, Ontario; A.B. King, Okotoks, Alberta and A.E. Gilroy, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. A vote of thanks was tendered for Sir Montague Allan for this generosity, and to Mr. Wm. Northey, of Montreal, and his co-workers on the Trustee board on their retirement after many years of splendid service in the interest of amateur hockey.
At the Association Annual Meeting in Winnipeg in 1984 the classification of teams competing for the Allan cup was changed to Senior AAA.
For more information visit Hockey Canada’s Allan Cup page and the
2008 Allan Cup in Brantford, ON.