South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League
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The South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League is one of the oldest continuously operating hockey leagues in Manitoba. It is classified as a Senior Hockey League, not because the players are in their 60's or 70's but because in most towns where there is hockey, there always was a classification between Minor Hockey (young boys hockey) and Senior Hockey (adult men’s hockey). Senior or Intermediate hockey has long been a part of Canada's smaller communities and the SEMHL is one of many leagues that has provided great hockey action for many years.
The SEMHL was formed back in 1951 and the following teams competed in the inaugural year:
Over the years there have been many changes to the league, with old teams stepping down and new teams joining. The one constant that remains is the exciting hockey that over 50 years has been the drawing card in each and every community that was proud to have a team competing.
During the 1950's and into the 1960's the SEMHL was a hotbed of hockey that featured many ex Pro hockey players and some that even went on to play hockey. In fact it was once said that there were better Senior hockey teams playing in Manitoba than some of the NHL Minor League teams at the time. Fans would make any and all concessions to arrive at arenas on frozen nights to cheer on the likes of players such as ex-NHL rookie of the year, Jimmy McFadden, tough guy characters like Tom Rockey (inducted into Manitoba’s Hockey Hall of Fame), Red Thompson, outstanding goalies like Frank Hildebrand, high scoring forwards Don Thompson, Harry Bueckert, Bill Wilms, Wayne Stephenson before he went to St Louis, Brian Coates, and the Woods brothers, Arnold in Miami and Earl in Winkler and their dad Bert, one of the early builders of the League.
Fans have recounted times when there were so many people in some of the arenas that people were literally viewing games from in the rafters.
Throughout the 1970's, 80's, 90's and up until today the SEMHL has featured many talented players, playing in front of and for many supportive and loyal fans.
Usually the players on the teams have consisted of players who have returned to their roots to play for their local hockey team after playing at various levels of hockey including High School, AAA Midget, Junior C, Junior B, Major Junior, Junior A, Canadian University, American College/University and Professional hockey.
The following is a list of the teams that have participated in league play and the years in which they participated.
Altona Maroons 1951 - Current
Winkler Royals – 1951 - 1991, 2013/2014 - Current
Morris Stampeders – 1951 - 1991
Lettelier Rogues - 1951 - 1954
Emerson Atheletics - 1951 - 1958
St. Jean Flyers - 1951 - 1956
Dominion City Flyers – 1956/57, 1969/70
Miami Rockets – 1952 - 1967
Pilot Mound Pilots – 1955 - 1991
Portage Plainsmen – 59/60 to 62/63
Portage Hawks – 1983/84 – 1997/98
Portage Pirates – 2000/01
Morden Bombers – 1959 – 1963, 1968 - 1983
Morden Redskins - 1986 - Current
Carman Beavers – 1953/55, 1963/2000, 2001 to current
Manitou Mercurys – 1966/67 – 1968/69
Oakville Seals – 1968 - 1974, 2005/06 - 2011/2012
Red River Rebels – 1973/74 – 1975-76
Elm Creek Kernels – 1978/79 – 1981/82
St. Andrews Aces – 1988/89
Warroad Lakers – 1984/85 - 1986-87, 1989/90, 1994/95
Notre Dame Hawks – 1990/91 – 1996/97, 2004- Current
Swan Lake Cougars – 1993/94 - 1998-99
Starbuck Black Sheep – 1995/96 – 1997/98
Winnipeg Wise Guys – 2000/01
Plum Coulee XPress - 2002/03 - 2012/2013
Warren Mercs - 2005/06 - current
Stonewall Flyers - 2006/07 - current
Some of the teams dropped out for a year or two and then came back with the Altona Maroons being the only team to compete for each year.
There have been many different SEMHL Championship Teams and some of them have gone on to compete and win in Provincial Intermediate and Senior Championships.
There have also been teams that have tried to make a run at winning the Allan Cup, which is the National Championship for Senior Hockey in Canada and is the oldest Hockey trophy in Canada still actively being pursued each year. Only one team that has played in the SEMHL has won the Allan Cup and that is the Warroad Lakers. In fact they are the only American team to win the Allan Cup a total of three times and they did it an amazingly three consecutive years in a row under the guidance of one man - Cal Marvin.
There has never been a history book printed about the SEMHL but there are some books that have made reference to the SEMHL.
The following books have all been printed in recent years and contain information pertaining to Senior Hockey and the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League.
Hockey Towns - by Bill Blake
Altona Maroons 40th Anniversary Yearbook - Maroons Exec. committee
Warroad Lakers - Winning on both sides of the border.
For more information regarding the whereabouts of these publications and how to obtain one, please contact Eric Hildebrand by mail at PO Box 334, Altona, MB R0G 0B0.
For the current season the League consists of teams from Altona, Carman, Morden, Notre Dame, Warren, Winkler and Stonewall Get your hockey fix in your local arena and support your team.