The Oshawa Generals are one of the oldest and most decorated franchises in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), and the oldest in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). In their 80-year history, the Generals have won the J. Ross Robertson Cup, which is awarded to the OHL Champions, a record of 13 times. In addition, they’ve been crowned Memorial Cup Champions five times; the most of any current active CHL team. The organization is also known for their ability to develop junior hockey players into professional players. To date, the Generals have over 180 graduates to the National Hockey League (NHL), which is just second to the Peterborough Petes.
The Oshawa Generals started out playing at the Hambly Arena, also known as the Oshawa Arena, from 1937 to 1953. They won three Memorial Cups during their time at the Hambly Arena, in 1939, 1940 and 1944. Following a devastating fire that burned the entire arena, the Generals were forced to relocate. They moved from playing in Bowmanville as a Senior B team, to relocating to Whitby to form the Whitby Dunlops, and then spent a season playing in Maple Leaf Gardens while the new arena was being built.
The Generals played< back in Bowmanville the season before the new arena was ready, which is when a young kid by the name of Bobby Orr joined the roster. Finally, after relocating multiple times, the Generals made the big move into their new home, the Oshawa Civic Auditorium, on December 15, 1964. The team called the Auditorium home for over 40 years before moving to their current facility, the General Motors Centre (GM Centre), which seats 6,000 and features two ice pads. The Generals played their first game at the GM Centre on November 6, 2006.
There have been many notable names to put on a Generals’ jersey over the years. Recognized players and an outstanding track record are what make this organization’s history strong.
With seven consecutive Ontario titles including three Memorial Cups, it’s fair to say the Generals dominated junior hockey in Ontario in the late 1930’s until the mid-1940’s. The legendary Billy Taylor, considered one of the greatest players during that era, was a member of those teams. Along with Taylor, players such as Floyd “Busher” Curry, Bill Ezinicki and Albert “Red” Tilson were also on the Generals’ roster during the early 40’s. Tilson is one of the more recognized names with his name now immortalized on the Red Tilson trophy, which is awarded to the OHL’s Most Valuable Player each year. Tilson was the league’s leading scorer in 1942-43 and died during combat in World War II. In November 2006, he became the first Generals player to have his number retired and lifted to the rafters at the General Motors Centre.
The next huge name to put on a Generals jersey is one of the hockey’s most elite and historic players – Bobby Orr. The Parry Sound native was recognized at the age of 14 and spent four seasons with the Generals from 1962-1966, which included leading his team to an OHL Championship in his final season. His explosive offensive style made him an instant sensation in Oshawa and he went on to have a successful NHL career with the Boston Bruins, becoming one of the greatest defensemen in hockey history. In four seasons as a General, he compiled 278 points in 194 games while playing most of that time against players several years older. In November 2008, the always humble Orr had his number retired at the GM Centre, to honour this great General.
In the 1970s, Generals fans had many NHL teams to cheer for as alumni including Rick Middleton, Lee Fogolin, Rick Lanz, Tom McCarthy, Dale Tallon, Rick St. Croix, and Greg Malone all played their junior careers in Oshawa.
The 1980s saw two OHL championship teams in Oshawa with teams that included NHLers like Tony Tanti, Dave Andreychuk, John MacLean, Mike Craig, Jeff Hackett, Joe Cirella, Jeff Daniels, and Jarrod Skalde. Local hero Scotty McCrory also won an MVP award here. In 1989, a young Eric Lindros entered his rookie year with the Generals, scoring 17 goals and 19 assists in just 25 games. With 18 goals and 18 assists in 17 playoffs, Lindros led the Generals to their fourth Memorial Cup Championship in 1990. Lindros’ number was retired in March of 2008 to recognize his impressive junior career and time with the Generals.
The next major hockey phenomenon to put on a Generals jersey was Marc Savard. He began his OHL career in the 1993-94 season and eventually guided the Gens to their 12th OHL Championship. With 413 (281 goals, 132 assists) in 238 games, Savard is one of the most memorable Gennies.
In 2005, the Oshawa Generals drafted 14-year-old John Tavares with the first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection. Tavares is the first player to be grantedexceptional status in the OHL. In 2009, he broke the OHL record for the most individual goals with 215 in four seasons in the league. His number 91 was retired on Sunday, Sept. 28 in front of a sold-out crowd.
Over the last few years, the Generals have managed to be a competitive team in the Eastern Conference and East Division, while making the playoffs in 2010 through 2014. With 1997 being the last OHL Championship and 1990 being the last time the Memorial Cup came back to Oshawa, Gens staff, fans and players were eager for a big year. The Gens went unnoticed and overlooked for most of the 2014-15 season, despite their size and skill on the roster. The roster included veteran players like Cole Cassels, Hunter Smith, Josh Brown, and top prospects like Michael Dal Colle and Tobias Lindberg, combined with some big trades at the deadline with Mike McCarron, Dakota Mermis, Brent Pedersen and Matt Mistele. Coach DJ Smith instilled a defensive style of play that made it tough for other teams to compete against. Following their 13th OHL Championship win over the Erie Otters, the Generals competed in the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup where they won four straight games to be crowned champions for the fifth time in franchise history. For more on the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup win, here.
With five Memorial Cup Championships, 13 OHL Championships and a long list of NHL graduates and stars, the Oshawa Generals are one of junior hockey’s oldest and most prominent clubs.
The saying, “Once a General, always a General” is true and goes for every player who has ever been a part of this franchise.
J. Ross Robertson Cup
The J. Ross Robertson Cup is emblematic of the Ontario Hockey League’s championship series. The Cup was presented by J. Ross Robertson, who was president of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1901 to 1905. Since its inception, the J. Ross Robertson Cup has been won by the Generals 13 times, including seven consecutive championships between 1938 and 1944. The Generals also hoisted the Robertson Cup in 1966, 1983, 1987, 1990 and 1997.
The Generals also won the Hamilton Spectator Trophy in 1991 and Leyden Division Trophy in 1987, 1990, 1991, and in 2015. The Generals also brought the Bobby Orr Trophy to Oshawa for the first time in 2015 after becoming Eastern Conference Champions.
2015 OHL Champions:
It was a big year for Oshawa in the 2014-15 season. The team, coached by DJ Smith and Eric Wellwood, set franchise records for the most wins in a regular season with 51 and the most points in a single season with 108. They went on to defeat the Peterborough Petes in the first round of playoffs, followed by the Niagara IceDogs, then the North Bay Battalion. In the OHL Championship Series, they took on the Erie Otters and managed to shutdown their top lines and win the series in five games to secure the OHL Championship title and trophy.
MasterCard Memorial Cup
The Memorial Cup, which has been in competition since 1919, was presented in commemoration of the many great Canadian hockey players who paid the supreme sacrifice in defense of their county in the First World War. Initially the symbol of the national junior championship, the Cup later signified Junior “A” supremacy beginning in 1934 and Major Junior supremacy in 1971. Competing for it annually are the Western, Quebec Major Junior and Ontario Hockey Leagues. The winners of the three leagues, along with the host club, compete in the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament.
The Generals have hoisted the Cup as Memorial Cup Champions in 1939, 1940, 1944, 1990 and most recently, in 2015.
2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions:
Following their record-setting season and their OHL Championship win, the Generals went on to the Memorial Cup tournament in Quebec City in May 2015. They went undefeated in all four games, with their first win over the Oceanic Rimouski with a final score of 4-3. They followed it up with a tight 5-4 win over the Quebec Remparts, and then won game three 2-1 over the Kelowna Rockets, who they would later take on in the final.
In the Memorial Cup Final versus the Rockets, the game was forced into extra time after a 1-1 tie after 60 minutes. It was Anthony Cirelli, who made the team out of training camp as a free agent, who was the hero of the game, scoring both goals including the game-winner less than two minutes into extra time. The win marks the fifth time the franchise has captured the trophy, making the Generals the team with the most Memorial Cup wins, of all current and active CHL teams.
The Generals have brought the Memorial Cup back to Oshawa for the first time since 1990, which is exactly 25 years ago. This is also the first time the Memorial Cup returns to the OHL since 2010 by the Windsor Spitfires. In addition, the Generals are the first OHL Eastern Conference team to capture the title since the Ottawa 67’s did so in 1999.
It’s the greatest honour any sports team can bestow upon any player – retire his number and hang it from the rafters in their home arena.
The Oshawa Generals have had a long and glorious history in junior hockey since the team’s inception more than 80 years ago, with more than 150 players being drafted in the National Hockey League, and about the same number of players having played at least one game in the NHL.
There have been many great, great players to wear the Generals uniform over the years, but to date, there have been just five players who have had the ultimate honour of having had their jerseys retired and hung from the rafters.
TEAM RECORDS (ONE SEASON)
Most Points – 108 (2014-15)
Most Goals – 382 (1990-91)
Most Wins – 51 (2014-15)
Fewest Goals Against – 157 (2014-15)
INDIVIDUAL RECORDS (ALL TIME)
Games Played – Colin Suellentrop (2009-14) – 313
Goals – John Tavares (2005-2009) – 183
Assists – Marc Savard (1993-1997) – 281
Points – Marc Savard (1993-1997) – 413
Penalty Minutes – Ben Eager (2000-2004) – 795
INDIVIDUAL RECORDS (ONE SEASON)
Most Goals – Tony Tanti (1980-81) – 81
Most Assists – Scott McCrory (1986-87) – 99
Most Points – Tony Tanti (1980-81) & Scott McCrory (1986-87) – 150
Best G.A.A. – Ken Appleby (2014-15) – 2.08
INDIVIDUAL RECORDS (ONE GAME)
Most Goals – Tony Tanti (Jan. 18, 1981 vs. Kitchener) – 6
Most Assists – Chuck Durocher (No. 28, 1976 vs. Sault Ste. Marie) – 7
Most Points – Tony Tanti (Jan. 18, 1981 vs. Kitchener) – 8
Most Powerplay Goals – Tony Tanti (Jan. 18, 1981 vs. Kitchener) – 4
Most Shorthanded Goals – 10 times, Most recently John Tavares (Feb. 25, 2006 vs. S.S.Marie) – 2
Fastest Opening Goal – Paul Gardner (Feb. 13, 1976 at Kitchener) 0:05
Fastest Period Goal – Brett Trudell (Sep. 26, 2004 vs. Mississauga – OT) 0:04
Fastest 2 Goals by One Player – Greg Malone (Oct. 22, 1974 – 3rd Period) 0:04
Fastest 3 Goals by One Player – Peter Horachek (Oct. 14, 1979 vs. Kitchener – 3rd Period) 2:24