On February 16, 1967 the City of Ottawa was awarded a hockey franchise by the Ontario Hockey Association Major Junior A Series. The ownership group at the time, comprised of Bill Cowley, Howard Darwin, and Jack Kinsella, wanted to honour the year the team entered the league and as a result the Ottawa 67’s were born.
There was a buzz across the city for the new franchise. The team had not had a franchise of this magnitude since the original Ottawa Senators who left the NHL in 1934. This brand new franchise was set to play at the brand new Civic Centre. Unfortunately the construction of the new arena was delayed and the team was unable to commence the season in their own rink.
The Barber Poles would travel across the Ottawa River to Hull to play their first 11 home games at Hull Arena. There was a sense of urgency in order to ensure that the Civic Centre would be ready prior to 1968 to ensure that the 67’s were able to play a game on their true home ice prior to the year of their inception (and naming) would pass.
The Civic Centre would be finished just in time for the boys to get one game during 1967 on their own ice. Finally, on Friday, December 29th, 1967 after a long wait the Ottawa 67’s took to the ice at the Civic Centre in front of a packed crowd for the very first time. They would host the Montreal Junior Canadiens and would lose the contest 4-2. Their first win would come several days later with a 3-2 victory over the Hamilton Red Wings on New Year’s Day, January 1st, 1968.
Since that Friday night in the nation’s capital, 67’s fans have been witness to many memorable moments, players, and performances. Below are only a few of those special moments.
1977 – The Ottawa 67’s would win their first ever J. Ross Robertson Cup as league Champions. They beat the London nights in six games. The boys would then travel to Vancouver for the Memorial Cup Final. They would lose in the finals after a hard fought contest against the New Westminster Bruins.
1984 – The Ottawa 67’s would claim the J. Ross Robertson and travel to Kitchener for the Memorial Cup Championships. This team boasted many future NHL players and the Barber Poles would play the host Rangers to a 7-2 decision capturing the first national championship in team history.
1999 – The Ottawa 67’s would receive their bid to host the Memorial Cup tournament. The Barber Poles would make it to the final game against the Calgary Hitmen., Regulation would not be enough and the 10,00 fans were going to get to see the last Memorial Cup of the millennium go into overtime. Overtime was short lived as Matt Zultek of the Ottawa 67’s would score the game winning goal and the 67’s would get to celebrate their second Memorial Cup on home ice In front of thousands of cheering fans.
2001 – The Ottawa 67’s would capture their final J. Ross Robertson Cup. It took six games but the Barber Poles edged the Plymouth Whalers to capture the championship on home ice.
You can get tickets to Friday night’s historic game here.