5 Things About The Ontario Hockey League Even The Biggest Fans Don't Know
As with most sports leagues, the OHL (OHA Major Junior A) has had many franchise changes in its history. The league is fairly stable now with 20 teams that are in no real threat of shutting down or moving.
There are a number of things that may come as a surprise to the passive OHL fan about the history of the league. Here are five of the most forgotten facts about OHL franchises.
The Guelph Storm are the oldest franchise in the OHL. The Storm have only been in Guelph since 1991. The franchise can be traced back to the Toronto Marlboros, a charter member in the league back in 1937. Along the way, the franchise made a stop in Hamilton for a couple of years where they were called the Dukes.
The Peterborough Petes began as a franchise in Kitchener. In 1951, the Kitchener Greenshirts were awarded a franchise. The team changed its name to the Canucks for a couple of years before moving to Peterborough in 1956.
Two current teams once played out of Niagara Falls and were called the Flyers. The Barrie Flyers joined the league in 1945. The team moved to Niagara Falls in 1960 and retained the Flyers name. In 1972, the team moved to their present home in Sudbury and were renamed the Wolves. In 1976, the St. Catherines Black Hawks became the Niagara Falls Flyers. The team had been in St. Catherines since 1943. In 1982, the team became the North Bay Centennials and in 2002 they moved to Saginaw, Michigan and became the Spirit.
The Erie Otters joined the league in 1953 as the Hamilton Tiger Cubs. The Otters are the eighth location or name change in this franchise’s history. The franchise has been located in Hamilton, St. Catherines, Brantford, Niagara Falls and Erie, Pennsylvania. The team has been called the Tiger Cubs, Red Wings, Fincups, Alexanders, Steelhawks, Thunder and Otters.
Three different franchises have played out of Guelph, including the current Guelph Storm. The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters joined the league in 1947. The team changed its name to the Royals in 1960 and became the Kitchener Rangers in 1963. The next team to grace the city was the Platers. The Platers joined the league in 1982 but quickly moved to Owen Sound in 1989. The current team, the Storm, moved from Hamilton, where they were called the Dukes, in 1991.