Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 04
The Stanley Cup Journal

At a meeting held in Toronto on November 30, 1940, the Ontario Juvenile Hockey Association agreed to merge with The Ontario Bantam and Midget Hockey Association to form the Ontario Minor Hockey Association. The OMHA began with the 1941-42 season, and Dr. Leon Hipwell, a Toronto dentist, was selected as the first president. 107 teams competed for four championships — fifteen teams in the Juvenile A category, forty-seven in Juvenile B, twenty-six in Midget and another nineteen teams in the Bantam category. The operating budget in 1941-42 was $150. By comparison, 110,734 players were registered in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in 2004-05, with an operating budget close to $5 million! From humble beginnings, the league has now spread its influence and skills into virtually every nook and cranny of Ontario.

Today, just like 64 years ago, the OMHA's aims and objectives are to encourage, promote, organize and govern minor hockey programs in Ontario for all ages up to and including Juvenile. But even moreso, the Association endeavours to instill a sense of fair play in all participants. In the published OMHA Constitution of 1945-46, it was eloquently stated, "The object of this organization shall be to inculcate in the boys certain ideals; to play fairly under all circumstances and all conditions; to give opponents a fair chance and not to take unfair advantage of any opponent; to win modestly and to receive defeat with a smile; to give credit to the team that wins; not to question the referee's decision."

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Fans attending the Hometown Hockey Consumer Show presented by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association were delighted to view hockey's ultimate prize -- the Stanley Cup. (Dave Thom)
On Saturday, June 11, the OMHA held its Annual General Meeting at the Sheraton Parkway Hotel in Richmond Hill, just north of Toronto. Using the AGM as a hub, the OMHA built a Hometown Hockey Consumers Show that began Friday (June 10) and ran all weekend long.

The Show was open to the public, and gave hockey fans the chance to peruse products and services available to the hockey world within Ontario. Sixty-five exhibitors were on-site over the weekend, including the AHL Toronto Marlies, the OHA Junior St. Michael's Majors, Sports Netz, Ballistik one-piece sticks, Hyper Apparel, Ice Hockey Magazine, Brady Brady children's books and, of course, the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Attendees on Friday night between 5:00 - 9:00pm were astounded to see the Stanley Cup perched atop a draped table, there to be ogled, touched and admired. Young players with their parents from all across the province were in town for the Hometown Hockey Consumer Show, and most lined up to get their pictures taken with the Stanley Cup. Many took spontaneous shots using their cellphones, then called friends and family: "You would NOT believe what I'm looking at right now! Hang on, I'll e-mail you!"

The Hockey Hall of Fame celebrated and encouraged grassroots hockey with its exhibit at the Ontario Minor Hockey Association's trade show. (Mike Bolt)
The Stanley Cup was packed up tight at nine o'clock Friday, as it was off to the U.S. South West the next day. On the Saturday, the Consumer Show continued. Replacing the Stanley Cup at the show were the Canada Cup and the newly-designed World Cup. Organizers prepared for the Annual General Meeting. But before business, it was all pleasure — the Ontario Minor Hockey Association held its annual Parade of Champions starting at 11:00am. Every one of the OMHA championship teams was invited to participate, and many made their way in to Toronto to be honoured. The teams march triumphantly past almost 4,500 people — parents, coaches, players, administrators, media, tradeshow exhibitors, hotel guests - then, receive their championship banner, which will be taken back to their hometown arena and hung proudly from the rafters.

Having the Stanley Cup at the OMHA annual meeting was another reminder that although hockey at the NHL level was suspended this season, the hopes and dreams of young boys and girls were very much alive and well in rinks around the world.

Kevin Shea is the Manager of Publishing and Editorial Content for the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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