Aurora Tigers

History of the Tigers

The Aurora Tigers were first formed in 1967 as a member of the Metro Junior “B” league. In 1972, the most viable teams were pulled from the Metro and into the OHA Junior “A” league. The Tigers stayed on board until 1985, and as the financial situation of the league changed and became less viable, the Tigers folded.

In 1987, Aurora’s financial interests were intrigued into coming back. With the OHA Jr. “A” now folded, the Central Junior “B” and Metro Junior “B” were consistently being judged as the heirs to the Junior “A” title. The Aurora Eagles joined the Central Junior “B” league and stayed there until 1992.

In 1991, tired of the indecisiveness of the Ontario Hockey Association in creating the next Junior “A” league, the now renegade Metro Junior “B” league declared themselves Southern Ontario’s only Tier II Junior “A” league. The league even helped form the Canadian Junior A Hockey League in 1993. The forwardness of the new Junior “A” league drew the interest of the Aurora franchise. They joined the league in 1992, reverting to the old “Tigers” nickname. The Tigers won the Metro league title in 1997 and moved to the OPJHL—a year before the Metro folded.

A new era of the Tigers started in 1997. The old Central Junior “B” league was promoted to Tier II Junior “A” in 1993 and became the OPJHL. Since 1997, the Tigers have had winning seasons 8 out of 9 seasons. In 2002-03, the Tigers had an amazing season (only losing 3 times) but came away with no hardware in the playoffs. In 2003-04, the Tigers had an unbelievable season. With a 47-2-0-0 record, the Tigers won the Buckland Cup as OPJHL Playoff Champions, the Dudley Hewitt Cup as Central Canadian Champions, and the Royal Bank Cup as Canadian Junior “A” National Champions.

 

2003–04 season and playoffs

Dudley Hewitt Cup

The Tigers gained a ticket to the Dudley Hewitt Cup by winning the Buckland Cup as OPJHL champions. The Tigers started out against the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League. Soo failed to win their league but gained a ticket to the DHC as their competitor in the final was the DHC Host. The game proved to be close, but the Tigers prevailed, 3–1. In the second game, the Tigers faced the Fort William North Stars, champions of the Superior International Junior Hockey League. The Tigers shut down their tough opponents with a 4–0 win. The North Stars, of a relatively new league, are the elite of the Thunder Bay area. Their third game saw them defeat the NOJHL Champion North Bay Skyhawks, 5–3, which earned them a bye to the DHC final.

The North Bay Skyhawks defeated the Fort William North Stars in the semi-final to meet the Aurora Tigers in the DHC final. The final, to determine a birth to the Royal Bank Cup 2004, ended up in a decisive 5–1 victory for the Tigers.

Royal Bank Cup 2004

The Aurora Tigers started off their Royal Bank Cup 2004 tournament against a well-rested host team, the Grande Prairie Storm of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. The Storm defeated the Tigers by a score of 4-2, their last loss of the season. Game two was against the Nanaimo Clippers of the British Columbia Hockey League, the Doyle Cup Champions, defeating them 4-2. The next game pitted the Tigers against the Anavet Cup Champions Kindersley Klippers from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Tigers won by a score of 5-0. The fourth round robin game saw the Tigers defeat the Fred Page Cup Champion Nepean Raiders of the Central Junior A Hockey League by a score of 3-1.

The Tigers finished tied for first in the round robin, but second by tie breaker. In the semi-final, they drew the Nepean Raiders again but this time beat them in convincing fashion 7-2. Kindersley upset the hosts 4-3 in the other Semi-final, drawing a lopsided 7-1 victory for the Tigers against the Klippers in the Final, earning them their first Royal Bank Cup.

2006–07 season and playoffs

The Tigers finished the 2006-07 season with the top record in the OPJHL and as the top ranked team in all of the CJAHL—44 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie.

In the playoffs, they first swept the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 4-games-to-none. They then beat the Newmarket Hurricanes 4-games-to-2. In the Division final, they defeated the Stouffville Spirit 4-games-to-1. In the Conference final, they defeated the Hamilton Red Wings 4-games-to-1 and then defeated the Wellington Dukes 4-games-to-1 to clinch the Buckland Cup as OPJHL Champions.

Dudley Hewitt Cup

In late April, the Tigers drove North to Iroquois Falls, Ontario to compete for their second Dudley Hewitt Cup. In the tourney opener, the Tigers defeated the NOJHL Champion Soo Indians 4-1. They then went the next night and beat the SIJHL Champion Schreiber Diesels 6-3. In the final game of the round robin, the Tiger beat up the host Abitibi Eskimos 7-0 to clinch first place and a bye to the tournament final. In the final game, the Tigers defeated Schreiber Diesels 10-0, having outshot them 67-23 and earning a birth to the Royal Bank Cup 2007.

Royal Bank Cup 2007

The Tigers started off with a 4-2 win over the Selkirk Steelers (MJHL). Aurora then suffered a disappointing loss to the Pembroke Lumber Kings (CJHL), 5-3. They then took out their frustration on the host Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL) with a 6-3 victory and then flexed some muscle with a 7-4 dismantling of their most anticipated opponent, the Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL). With a 3-1 record in the round robin, the Tiger clinched first place and the early semi-final against the 4th seed Pembroke Lumber Kings. The rematch was ugly, with the Lumber Kings leading 2-1 at one point. The Tigers tied up the game to force overtime and then tournament MVP, Top Forward, and Scoring Champion Daniel Michalsky scored the winner early in the extra frame. The Tigers went on to face Prince George in the final as they had disposed of Camrose 3-2 in fifth overtime the night before. By early in the third, the Tigers had built up a 3-0 lead and held on to win 3-1 to win their second Royal Bank Cup in four years.

Accolades

The Tigers finished the season with a combined 73 wins, 10 losses, and 1 tie. Their 2006-07 accolades include the Regular Season Crown, the #1 CJAHL National Ranking, the North Division Championship, the North/West Conference Championship, the OPJHL Buckland Cup, the Ontario Hockey Association Championship, the Ontario Hockey Federation Championship, the Dudley Hewitt Cup, and the Royal Bank Cup as the Best Junior “A” Team in Canada.

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