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ROAD TO THE 2023 Allan CUp Challenge…WHAT WOULD MONTAGU THINK?

By – Dan Carle

The Real McCoys are set to host The Challenge for the Allan Cup in Dundas, Ontario April 17-22, 2023. It will be the third time the Real McCoys have hosted this Canadian iconic championship. As we get closer to the event, we will delve into the lush history of this event.

Tickets for the 2023 Allan Cup will be available to purchase here on April 1st.

The Allan Cup is a Canadian senior hockey championship with as rich a history as the Stanley or Grey Cup. Unfortunately, lately this cup is anything but full.

Don Robertson has a few plans to host the 2023 Allan Cup next month – and a scheme to change the format entirely. He’s trying to lift senior men’s hockey off the mat and get it back on the national mantel – specifically, the small town radar, where senior hockey not so long ago flourished.

“I think that there is a collage of events that changed it,” said Robertson, 66, a longtime Dundas realtor with deep roots in the Hamilton area who has coached, managed and networked his beloved Real McCoys long enough to remember what the Allan Cup not so long ago represented.  “It’s the world’s oldest national hockey championship. And should be revered. And should be built back up,” Robertson said.

The Real McCoys, a second team from the Allan Cup Hockey league, and the storied Innisfail Eagles from Alberta and Clarenville Ford Caribous from Newfoundland will compete in the 2023 tournament, scheduled April 17-22 in Dundas.

De-iced this year after a three-season break due to COVID, the Allan Cup been hosted all across Canada, and even the United States – places like Truro (N.S), Vaudreuil (Que.), Unity (Sask.), Clarenville (Nfld. – 2015), Kenora (Ont.), Steinbach (Man.), Nelson (BC), and Warrod (Man.). 

Dundas, near Hamilton, has hosted two Allan Cups, the last in 2014 when the Real McCoys – named after a local foundry – beat Clarenville 3-2 in a double overtime final.   

In the 70s and 80s senior men’s hockey was a sports priority in locales all across Canada. Rinks were packed on weekend nights, local radio stations covered and broadcast games, and local heroes wore the “C.” Those teams and that spirit have taken a hit all across Canada. How times have changed.

The Allan Cup was founded by Montreal’s Montagu Allan (1860-1951) in 1909 in celebration of the Canadian men’s amateur hockey champion.

Robertson is lobbying for the inclusion of double-A senior teams in all future tournaments. Currently only triple-A teams are allowed to compete for the Allan Cup, based on rules set out by Hockey Canada.

In Robertson’s mind, for the good of the game and Montagu Allan’s legacy, the rules for entry need to be broadened.

Triple-A Senior men’s hockey is all but vanishing – three teams in Alberta, four in Ontario – while double-A hockey is flourishing. The fix? In Robertson’s mind simply drop an A. “British Columbia has a 10 or a 12-team double-A league,” Robertson said. “My vision would be – let the double-A teams say they want to challenge for the Allan Cup.”

A request for comment from Hockey Canada went unanswered.

Robertson’s undaunted. “That will engage – if I can pull this off – lots of communities across the country, who then will become far more familiar with the Allan Cup. Bring it back up to the predominance that it deserves. “There’s double-A leagues in Quebec, the Maritimes, Newfoundland. There’s double-A leagues across Canada. My vision would be – let them participate. If some of my effort can help us get there, to me that is the biggest win of all.”

Alan Cup at a glance:

1909     Montagu Allan of Montreal donates Cup to signify amateur hockey champions of the Canada.

5-4       Ottawa Cliffsides 1909 win over Queen’s in Ottawa to claim first Allan Cup.

10        Most Allan Cup victories – Thunder Bay.

50        Allan Cup championships won by Ontario teams, No. 1 in Canada.

12        Manitoba Allan Cup victories, No.2 in Canada.

7          Allan Cups won by teams in the United States (4 – Washington, 3 – Minnesota).

1          Yukon and PEI have won one Allan Cup.

3          2020 – 2022 Allan Cup tournaments cancelled due to COVID-19.

4          Spokane, Washington hosted Allan Cups.

1980     Last time Spokane hosted Allan Cup.

5-2       Lacombe Generals defeat Innisfail Eagles for 2019 title.

3          2023 marks the third time Dundas as hosted the Allan Cup.

2014     Dundas Real McCoys win the Allan Cup.

Tickets for the 2023 Allan Cup will be available to purchase here on April 1st.

About the Ontario Hockey Association

The Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) was founded on November 27, 1890 and is the governing body for a vast majority of Junior and Senior hockey in the Province of Ontario under the auspices of the Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF), one of thirteen Provincial and Regional Branches of Hockey Canada. The OHA is comprised of three Junior hockey leagues and one Senior hockey league, Junior A (Ontario Junior Hockey League); Junior B (Greater Ontario Junior Hockey LeagueJunior C (Provincial Junior Hockey League and Sr. AAA (ACH). There are 110 teams in the four leagues.

About the Allan Cup

The Allan Cup is the trophy awarded annually to the senior ice hockey champions of Canada. It was donated by Sir Montagu Allan of Ravenscrag, Montreal, and has been competed for since 1909.  The current champions are the Lacombe Generals, who captured the 2019 Allan Cup in Lacombe, Alberta. The 2023 event will be the 112th time the Allan Cup has been awarded.

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For more information or to set up an interview, please contact:

Chris McCleary                                                                                                                        

General Manager, Operations & Marketing                                

Ontario Hockey Association                                          

[email protected]        

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