|Countries||Canada, United States|
|Former name(s)||Canada West Hockey Association (1990-1993)|
Canadian Junior A Hockey League (1993-2008)
|No. of teams||132|
|Recent Champions||Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (1st)|
|Most successful club||Vernon Vipers (BCHL) (6)|
The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), an association of Canadian junior A ice hockey leagues and teams, formed in November 1993, emerging from the Canada West Association of Junior 'A' Hockey. The champion of the Canadian Junior Hockey League wins the Centennial Cup.
The CJHL spans the majority of Canada, from the Pacific Coast to the Atlantic Coast. The only regional organizations of Hockey Canada to currently not have member teams or a league are Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador and Hockey North. In addition to Hockey NL and Hockey North, Hockey New Brunswick and Hockey PEI do not have their own leagues, but have teams from their region playing under Hockey Nova Scotia with the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
In 1970, the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and Western Canada Hockey League broke away from the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA) and became its own governing body (what would become the Canadian Hockey League). These new "Major Junior" leagues were given exclusive permission to compete for the Memorial Cup, which had been Canada's Junior "A" championship prior to 1970.
In May 1970, CAHA chairman Frank McKinnon tabled a motion at the organization's Annual General Meeting to allow the remaining Junior "A" leagues to compete at a national level for their own championship. The motion was granted and McKinnon and the Manitoba Amateur Hockey Association donated the Manitoba Centennial Trophy to the new championship in honour of 100 years of ice hockey in Manitoba.
Leagues The leagues that would be involved in that first year were:
In 1971, the Newfoundland Amateur Hockey Association jumped on board by allowing their provincial Junior champion to compete in the Centennial Cup playdowns. This lasted until 1977. Also in 1971, the Maritime Junior A Hockey League folded, leaving the Charlottetown Islanders (the defending Dudley Hewitt Cup champions) to enter the Centennial Cup playdowns as an independent team. Also in 1971, the Newfoundland Junior A Hockey League entered the fray. In 1972, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey Association folded when two of its teams (Sudbury Wolves and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) jumped to Major Junior. The Charlottetown Islanders closed their doors after a marginal performance in the 1972 playdowns. Two new leagues came in 1972, the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League was created as a rival league to the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League. The SOJHL was more in Southwestern Ontario, while the OPJHL focused more on the Greater Toronto Area. The other new league was the Quebec Junior A Hockey League.
In 1973, the Island Junior Hockey League of Prince Edward Island made the jump from Junior B to Junior A. In 1975, the Eastern Junior A Hockey League ascended to Junior A from the Junior B ranks in Cape Breton Island. Then, in 1977, the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League jumped from Junior B to Junior A in mainland Nova Scotia. After one year of playing head-to-head for the provincial Junior A title, the EJHL folded and left the MVJHL as the only league in Nova Scotia. After various attempts to create a stable Junior A system in Newfoundland, the NAHA and its teams pulled out of National play in 1977. The Southern Ontario league folded in 1977, the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League was promoted to Junior A in 1978 and the NorMan Junior Hockey League was promoted to Junior A in Manitoba in 1979. A second league was founded in British Columbia in 1974, the Pacific Coast Junior Hockey League was created to compete with the British Columbia Junior Hockey League - this league was absorbed by the BCJHL in 1979. A year later, the Peace-Cariboo Junior Hockey League was promoted from Junior B in East-Central British Columbia. That same year, the Thunder Bay Junior A Hockey League folded. They were replaced by a single team, the Thunder Bay Kings later to be the two-time Centennial Cup champion Thunder Bay Flyers.
The summer of 1982 saw the folding of the Quebec Junior A League. In 1983, the New Brunswick Junior Hockey League folded and merged with the Metro Valley Junior Hockey League. In 1985, the NorMan Junior Hockey League faltered and folded. In 1987, the OPJHL, then known as the Ontario Junior Hockey League, folded after dropping to only four teams. During the 1988 Centennial Cup playoff run, the Black Lake Miners of Quebec were allowed to enter as an independent team. That summer, the Quebec Provincial Junior Hockey League was formed, rebranded the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League in 1997. In 1989, Newfoundland would take a second shot at Junior A with the promotion of the St. John's Junior Hockey League. The league dropped back to Junior B in 1991. Also in 1991, the Island Junior Hockey League folded and merged with the Metro Valley league. The Metro Valley League now had all three Maritime provinces incorporated in it and decided to change its name to the Maritime Junior A Hockey League. Out West in 1991, the Peace-Cariboo league expanded south into the Kootenays and rebranded itself as the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League. In 1993, Southern Ontario came back in a big way with two leagues—the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League and the Metro Junior A Hockey League. By 1998, the two leagues would merge under the Ontario Provincial banner with 37 teams under its belt. In 1999, the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League folded. In 2000, the Thunder Bay Flyers folded, having competed strictly in the United States Hockey League since the 1996-97 season. A year later, their void was filled by the Superior International Junior Hockey League. In 2008, the Ontario Provincial League rebranded itself the Ontario Junior Hockey League, just to be divided into two leagues in 2009 (Central Canadian Hockey League and Ontario Junior A Hockey League), and be reunited in time for playoffs that year under the Ontario Junior Hockey League banner. In 2010, the Central Junior A Hockey League became the Central Canada Hockey League.
In 1990, the western Junior A leagues in Canada would form the Canada West Association. This organization would be the catalyst for the creation of the Canadian Junior A Hockey League in 1993. In 2008, the league was rebranded the "Canadian Junior Hockey League".
To determine a National Champion, the winners of each league playdown in three regional championships—the Fred Page Cup (Eastern Region - Maritimes, Quebec, Ottawa District), the Dudley Hewitt Cup (Central Region - Southern Ontario, Northeastern Ontario, Northwestern Ontario), the ANAVET Cup (Western Region - Manitoba and Saskatchewan), and the Doyle Cup (Pacific Region - Alberta and British Columbia). The winners of the four regional playoffs and a host city play in the National Junior A Championship to determine the National Champion.
There are a variety of trophies no longer used for the national playdown system. The Abbott Cup and Dudley Hewitt Cup were awarded to Western and Eastern Canadian Champions respectively, the winners of which would square off for the Manitoba Centennial Cup, the National Championship. The Abbott Cup was no longer a major trophy after the 1989 Centennial Cup when both the Doyle Cup and ANAVET Cup champions were granted entrance into the Centennial Cup round robin. The western leagues briefly returned to an all-western Canadian championship known as the Western Canada Cup from 2013 to 2017. The Dudley Hewitt Cup became the Central Canada championship after the 1978 Centennial Cup, but might have been awarded to an All-Eastern Champion briefly after 1982. In the early 1990s, the Callaghan Cup was replaced by the Fred Page Cup. The Callaghan Cup was originally awarded to the Atlantic Junior "A" Champion between the winner of Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, but after the three major Maritime leagues merged and Newfoundland's final league departed the trophy had no real use. In 1995, the Quebec Provincial Junior Hockey League donated the Fred Page Cup to create an Eastern Canadian championship between the Maritimes, Quebec, and the Ottawa District of Ontario. The Dudley Hewitt Cup used to represent all of Ontario and Quebec, but with so many leagues in that region in the mid-1990s and the MJAHL's champion getting a direct ride to the National Championship, the Fred Page Cup became a necessity.
The Manitoba Centennial Cup was the Grand Championship of Junior "A" hockey in Canada from 1970 until 1995, when it was replaced by the corporately sponsored Royal Bank Cup, later known as the RBC Cup. In 2018, the sponsorship ended and the title is now known as the National Junior A Championship.
In 2005, the CJAHL created the CJAHL Prospects Game (now called the CJHL Prospects Game) where top players compete in a Team West versus Team East format for the President's Cup in front of the scouting community. In 2006, in conjunction with the Hockey Canada, the World Junior A Challenge was formed. At the WJAC, a prospects team from the five western leagues and the five eastern leagues of the CJHL host national prospect teams from around the world in an international tournament hosted by a town with a CJHL franchise. From 2011 on, the CJHL Prospects Game became an event at the World Junior A Challenge.
|British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL)||British Columbia[a 1]||17||Wenatchee Wild|
|Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL)||Alberta[a 2]||16||Spruce Grove Saints|
|Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL)||Saskatchewan[a 3]||12||Nipawin Hawks|
|Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL)||Manitoba||11||Steinbach Pistons|
|Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL)||Northwestern Ontario[a 4]||6||Dryden Ice Dogs|
|Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL)||Northeastern Ontario[a 5]||12||Cochrane Crunch|
|Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL)||Southern Ontario[a 6]||22||Wellington Dukes|
|Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL)||Eastern Ontario||12||Ottawa Jr. Senators|
|Quebec Junior Hockey League (LHJQ)||Quebec||12||Longueuil College Francais|
|Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MHL)||NS, NB, & PEI||12||Edmundston Blizzard|
Click Here to see the Canadian Junior Hockey League's Playoff and National Championship.
|National Junior A Championship||National||Brooks, Alberta|
|Dudley Hewitt Cup||Central||Cochrane, Ontario|
|Fred Page Cup||Eastern||Amherst, Nova Scotia|
This is a list of players per league/independent team drafted since the inception of Junior A in 1970 directly from a Junior A team into the National Hockey League or World Hockey Association Draft. Any league or independent team with a grey background is defunct. These numbers do not include the hundreds of players who played in the CJHL, moved up to Canadian Hockey League, NCAA, or United States Hockey League and were then drafted.
Top 30 Overall Picks from CJHL:
Top 30 Overall Picks Prior to CJHL:
Other notable players to be drafted directly from Junior A hockey include: Al MacAdam, Ken Houston, Cam Botting, Troy Murray, Chris Chelios, Dave Ellett, Ray Ferraro, Tony Hrkac, Brett Hull, Tom Tilley, Danton Cole, Mike Eastwood, Garry Valk, Dixon Ward, Greg Johnson, Anson Carter, Ryan Johnson, and Bates Battaglia.
The President's Cup is awarded to the winning team at the CJHL Prospects Game. Team East (CHL, MHL, NOJHL, OJHL, and QJAAAHL players) and Team West (AJHL, BCHL, MJHL, SJHL, and SIJHL players) playoff in an annual event for the President's Cup at a predetermined host city in front of scores of fans and scouts. From 2005 until 2008, the event ran as a single game, but starting in 2009 the President's Cup will be played for in a two-game series where the combined score of the games determines the winner of the event.
At the 2011 Royal Bank Cup it was announced that starting with the 2011 World Junior A Challenge that the CJHL Prospects Game would take place at the WJAC. Following the 2013 World Junior A Challenge, the game was reverted to a stand-alone event starting with the 2014-15 season, as well as taking place post-New Years for the first time ever.
Single Game Event
Two Game Series
Single Game Event
Every year, each of the ten leagues of the CJHL choose their scholastic player of the year. One of these ten players is chosen to win the $5000 CAD RBC National Junior A Scholarship.