The Oshawa Generals are one of the most prestigious organizations in all of the Canadian Hockey League. With an iconic past dating back to the early 20th century, the Generals have produced memorable NHL’ers such as Bobby Orr, Marc Savard, Eric Lindros, and John Tavares. The Generals are the most successful OHL franchise in Canadian Hockey League History. The Oshawa Generals have 184 graduates to the NHL, have won the Memorial Cup a record five times and the OHL Championship (J. Ross Robertson Cup) 13 times. The Oshawa Generals are a team with deep roots in their hometown and with their dedicated fans.
The OHA Dynasty 1937-1944
In 1937 the Oshawa Generals were born. Named after their sponsor, General Motors of Canada. Led by manager Matt Leyden, the Generals captured seven consecutive OHA Championships and won three memorial cups during the time span. During their OHA dynasty, the Generals gained a reputation of keeping their players well looked after. Players received excellent treatment on and off the ice and also around the city. They received privileges from local businesses and sponsors would provide full scholarships for players to attend school. 20 Oshawa Generals from the dynasty became NHL alumni, and of the 20 one was David Bauer, who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989.
Tragedy and Rebirth 1953-1964
Following a fire in 1953 at Hambly Arena, the team was disbanded and went on a nine-year hiatus. During the nine years some players joined a Senior B team known as the Oshawa Truckmen and played out of Bowmanville, the team then became known as the Whitby Dunlops. Following negotiations with the Boston Bruins, Oshawa Generals manager Wren Blair joined an agreement with the Bruins president Weston Adams. The agreement was built around a new arena being constructed for the new Oshawa Generals team that Wren was putting together. The Oshawa Civic Auditorium would open its doors in 1964. While the Civic was under construction the team played their home games out of the Maple Leaf Gardens, competing in the Junior A League. In 1963 the Metro Junior A League was disbanded, and the Generals once again played in the OHA.
The Bobby Orr Years 1962-1966
During the 1964-65 season, the Generals moved into their new home at the Civic Auditorium. That season Orr broke his own record, scoring 34 goals. During the 1965-66 season, the team returned to the Memorial Cup, led by Captain Orr. The team had not had a Memorial Cup appearance in 22 years. Bobby Orr scored 38 goals during the season and helped the team defeat the Kitchener Rangers to win the J. Ross Roberston Cup. During the Memorial Cup Series, Orr played injured for the majority of the time, the team lost to the Edmonton Oil Kings in six games. After that season ended many players graduated from the team and moved on, manager Blair Wren became the GM of the NHL’S Minnesota North Stars, and Bobby Orr went on to play for the Boston Bruins.
Rebuilding for the future… 1967-1987
The Generals had many dismal seasons through the late 1960s and 1970s. Many players had gone on to play for NHL teams, the fans could cheer for alumni including Rick Middleton, Lee Fogolin, Rick Lanz, Tom McCarthy, Dale Tallon, Rick St. Croix, and Greg Malone. In 1979, the Generals would rebuild to begin a run for the Memorial Cup. The Generals hired coach Paul Theriault, who would lead the team to 9 consecutive winning seasons, including two Memorial Cup appearances. The 1986–1987 season saw the Generals playing on home ice in the Memorial Cup, as the host city, and as the OHL Champions. Oshawa won the OHL championship series defeating North Bay 4 games to 3. After participating in the Memorial Cup, Oshawa reached the finals versus the Medicine Hat Tigers but lost 6-2 in the Championship.
Eric Lindros and the Fourth Memorial Cup
In 1989, a young Eric Lindros entered his rookie year with the Generals and turned out to be the player the Generals needed to reach the Memorial Cup, in addition to the existing core of players captained by Iain Fraser. Copps Coliseum hosted the 1990 Memorial Cup. The Generals would compete against the Kamloops Blazers, Laval Titan, and the OHL runners-up Kitchener Rangers. The championship game on May 13, 1990, attracted 17,383 spectators who witnessed the Oshawa Generals defeated the Kitchener Rangers by a score of 4 to 3 in double overtime on a goal by Bill Armstrong. This would be the 4th Memorial Cup in Oshawa Generals history. In the offseason following their Memorial Cup win, Lindros would be chosen first overall in the NHL draft by the Quebec Nordiques. Lindros would return for the 1990–1991 season and led the team again by scoring 71 goals and 78 assists in 57 regular season games. Eric Lindros’ number was retired in March of 2008 to recognize his impressive junior career and time with the Generals.
A New Home 2004 – Present
In 2004, John Davies purchased the team from the previous owner John Humphreys. This marked the beginning of a new era for the team, as the Humphreys family had owned the team since its resurrection in 1962.
In 2005 the Oshawa Generals drafted a 14-year-old named John Tavares first overall in the OHL Priority Selection. He was granted exceptional player status by the OHL allowing him to be drafted one year earlier than normal. The Generals worked to build another championship team centered around Tavares.
The new ownership also brought an end to the Generals era at the Civic Auditorium. Led by Oshawa Mayor John Gray, the Generals were able to call a new arena in downtown Oshawa their home. The team moved into the General Motors Centre on November 1, 2006, and played the inaugural game on November 3, 2006, against the Owen Sound Attack.
In July 2008, the Oshawa Generals Executive Team announced a change of ownership structure with Rocco Tullio of Windsor, Ontario agreeing to terms and conditions with John Davies to acquire his remaining shares of the Oshawa Generals. In January 2010, Tullio welcomed two new partners as owners – former National Hockey League star and Stanley Cup Champion Adam Graves and former OHL Coach and General Manager Peter DeBoer.
2015 Return To The Memorial Cup
For the first time since 1997, the Oshawa Generals made it back to the Memorial Cup in 2015. By winning all three of their round-robin games, the Generals clinched a spot in the 2015 Memorial Cup final. With a 2-1 OT win over the Kelowna Rockets, the Generals were the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions. Anthony Cirelli, who made the team out of training camp as a free agent, was the hero of the game, scoring the game-winning goal 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.
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 shut down 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 country 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 honor 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 have 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 honor of having had their jerseys retired and hung from the rafters.
Red Tilson played two seasons with the Generals from 1941-1943. In his last season with the team, Tilson led the league in points and led the team to the Cup finals where they lost. He had a promising professional hockey career ahead of him, but instead, he decided to enlist in the military during World War 2, where he was killed in battle. His number 9 was retired on November 12th, 2006, the first ever number to be retired by the Generals organization. His name now immortalized on the Red Tilson Trophy, which is awarded to the OHL’s Most Valuable Player each year.
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 playoff games, Lindros led the Generals to their fourth Memorial Cup Championship in 1990. Eric Lindros played three 1989-1992. He was drafted first overall in 1991 by the Quebec Nordiques and went on to play 13 seasons in the NHL and recording 865 points. “He got all the attention, which he deserved, he was a phenom at the time, but he came in there and settled right in, did his part, and he had no qualms about it,” recalled team captain Iain Fraser. “He had a camera on his face since he was 13 years old, so he was very good at handling pressure.” His number was retired by the team on March 6th, 2008
The next star 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, winning three consecutive Hart Trophies, two Stanley Cups, and participating in eight All-Star Games. He was also ranked 31st by ESPN for the top 50 greatest athletes of the 20th century in 1999, and 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. His name will live on in the OHL, with the Eastern Conference winner receiving the Bobby Orr Trophy.
John Tavares was the first overall pick of the Oshawa Generals in the 2005 OHL Priority Selection. Tavares was the first player to be granted exceptional status in the OHL. In 2009, he broke the OHL record for the most individual goals with 215 in four seasons in the league. Tavares played four seasons with the Oshawa Generals from 2005-2009, before being drafted by the New York Islanders first overall. In his four seasons in the OHL, Tavares recorded over 100 points in three of them. Tavares finished his OHL career with 433 points, putting up 383 points during his four seasons with the Generals. His number 91 was retired on September 28th, 2014. Tavares won many awards while a member of the Generals including Rookie of the Year, followed by Player of the Year and the Red Tilson Trophy for Most Valuable Player.
Marc Savard played his entire junior career in a Generals uniform. From 1993-1997, Savard donned the Generals uniform while dominating the league throughout his career. He lead the OHL in in scoring for two seasons, won the OHL title with the team in 1997 and later competing in the Memorial Cup. Savard won numerous league trophies including the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy twice, awarded annually to the player with the most points in the Ontario Hockey League, and the CHL Top Scorer Award with 139 points during the 94-95 season. After playing 3 seasons with the Generals, Marc went on to have a tremendous career in the NHL. Marc played 14 seasons in the NHL with; the New York Rangers, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and the Boston Bruins. During his NHL career Marc tallied 207 goals, 499 assists for 706 points in 807 games played. While with the Bruins, Marc played in the NHL All-Star game in back to back years in 2008 and 2009 and took home the Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins in 2011. In a ceremony on October 2nd, 2016, Marc’s number was raised to the rafters when it was retired by the Generals.
Tony Tanti is a name synonymous with the Generals organization. A 4th round draft pick in the 1980 OHL priority selection, he immediately became an impact player for the Generals as he had a storied rookie career. Tony broke the rookie goal scoring record held previously by Wayne Gretzky, when he scored his 71st goal and finishing the year with 150 points in 67 games to win the Emms Family OHL rookie of the year award, an award that you see on display behind me this evening. Following the season Tony was drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks 12th overall to cement his NHL destiny. After the draft, Tony was sent back to the Generals for the 81-82 season where he would have his second consecutive 100-point season finishing the year with 126 points. In his third season with the Generals, he would get the call to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championships and following the tournament would get the call to move up to the NHL. Tanti’s number was retired by the Generals on October 21st, 2017.
Bradley Arena – 1908-1928
The Bradley Arena, nicknamed “The Big Rink,” was located on Duke St. in downtown Oshawa. Its namesake was Ed Bradley, a prominent local businessman who was responsible for organizing the team and bringing Junior Hockey to Oshawa. In June 1928, the predominantly wooden structure succumbed to an overnight fire.
Hambly Arena 1930–1953
The Oshawa Arena (later known as the Hambly Arena) opened in 1930 and was built in large part on the contributions of Colonel Robert Samuel McLaughlin. It was the first brick facade and steel support structure for hockey in Oshawa. Shortly after training camp in 1953, the arena would suffer the same demise as its predecessor and burn to the ground on September 15.
Civic Auditorium 1964–2006
The Oshawa Civic Auditorium opened in 1964, built on fundraising by citizens of Oshawa. The arena has a capacity of 4,025 including standing room. In 1987 the Civic Auditorium played host to the Memorial Cup. The final game played by the Generals in the Civic Auditorium was October 29, 2006, against the Kingston Frontenacs, the Generals won 8–6.
GM Centre/ Tribute Communities Centre 2006-Present
On March 10, 2005, Oshawa City Council approved what was then known as the “Downtown Sports & Entertainment Facility Project” after many years of waiting for a new arena.
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