The inception of the AJHL took place in 1963, with the founding of five teams. Two of those teams were Calgary-based: The Calgary Cowboys and the Calgary Buffaloes. While both teams had success early on, both would fold by the end of the 1969-70 season: the Cowboys in 1965, and the Buffaloes, which renamed themselves the Cowboys prior to the 1966-67 season- in 1970.
The AJHL returned to Calgary in 1971 due to a group led by Doug Eastcott. This local hockey man wanted to give Calgary area kids an opportunity to play competitive hockey, without having to sacrifice being with their family, and their education. The Calgary Canucks were born.
The team achieved immediate success, making it to the league final against the Red Deer Rustlers. The Canucks fell in five games to the powerful Red Deer squad, but one year later-in the 1973 league final-the Canucks emerged victorious over the Rustlers in seven games. By winning the championship The Canucks earned the right to compete in it’s first Pacific Centennial Cup Championship, against the best team in British Columbia. The Penticton Broncos defeated Calgary in five games.
From the very beginning, the Canucks were a dominant regular season team. The Canucks were always one of the top three teams in its division from 1971 to 1990. In that span the Canucks won seven AJHL Championships; an ALTA/BC Championship, in 1978; and a Doyle Cup (replacing the ALTA/BC Championship), in 1988.
The Canucks did not win a playoff series from 1991 to 1994, but in 1995 the Canucks had the most successful playoff run in its history. The Canucks defeated the defending Centennial Cup Champions, Olds Grizzlies in the AJHL finals, winning in five games. Up next was the Doyle Cup Championship against the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Canucks won that series in a thrilling seven games to qualify for its first- and as of 2015- its only Centennial Cup Championship berth. The Canucks finished first in the four-team round robin portion to move on to the semi-finals. The Canucks defeated the Thunder Bay Flyers of the United States Hockey League, 5-3. The Canucks faced the host team, the Gloucester Rangers in the final. The Canucks beat the Rangers in dramatic fashion: a 5-4-overtime decision.
The Canucks won it’s record ninth league championship in 1999, defeating the St. Albert Saints in five games.
The Canucks have won more games, more regular season titles, and more championships than any other team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Canucks set a record for most consecutive playoff appearances with 34. Close to 300 former Canucks players have secured hockey scholarships to top Canada and US universities. Over 40 former Canucks players have been drafted into the NHL including two-time Stanley Cup Champion Craig Adams, NHL All-Star Dany Heatley, and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame member Mike Vernon, who also won two Stanley Cup Championships in his career. The Canucks, entering it’s 44st season, have crafted a legacy as one of the most storied teams in Canadian Junior “A” hockey history.
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