The Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC) is the governing body for collegiate sports in Manitoba. It was founded in 2007-08 as the successor to the Central Plains Athletic Conference (CPAC). The MCAC has 7 member schools and offers competition in four sports. The hockey league folded after the 2009-10 season.
The Manitoba Colleges Athletic Association (MCAA) sanctioned hockey from 1970-71 to 1985-86. Manitoba had three community colleges: Keewatin Community College, Assiniboine Community College, and Red River Community College. The MCAA determined a provincial champion to advance to western and/or national playdowns governed by the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA).
In the early years, the teams competed in intermediate leagues such as the SouthWest Hockey League (SWHL), the South Eastern Manitoba Hockey League (SEMHL), and the Manitoba Assiniboine Hockey League (MAHL). The MCAA champion was determined by a playoff amongst the college teams.
From 1983 through 1986, Manitoba's community colleges joined with American teams to form the Midwest International College Hockey League (MICHL). The top two Manitoba teams in the MICHL entered a playoff to determine the MCAA champion and representative in CCAA playdowns.
Once the MCAA ceased operations in 1986, Manitoba no longer participated in CCAA events. There was no further college-level intercollegiate sport in Manitoba until the Central Plains Athletic Conference was formed.
The 4-West Championship was played from 1972 to 1980 (9 tournaments). The winners of each of the four western provinces played for the title.
From the 1974-75 season through the 2000-01 season, 23 CCAA Men's Hockey National Championships were held. The 4-West winner represented the west region until 1980.
In 1981 and 1982, the Manitoba and Ontario winners played for a berth in the nationals. Ontario teams won both series. (Similar playoffs were held between Alberta and Saskatchewan in 1981, 1982, and 1990; and between Quebec and Nova Scotia in 1981 and 1982.)
Central Plains Athletic ConferenceEdit
In the new millenium, colleges from southern Manitoba and northwestern Minnesota formed the CPAC.
Under the CPAC banner, the hockey league peaked at 5 teams. The teams were:
- Assiniboine College Cougars
- Canadian Mennonite University Blazers
- Providence College Freemen
- Saint Boniface Voyageurs (CUSB)
- Steinbach Bible College Flames
Source: CPAC web site - No longer exists.
Manitoba Colleges Athletic ConferenceEdit
In 2007-08, the CPAC changed names to become the MCAC, with the same member teams.
The MCAC is not affiliated with the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA). However, the stated aim of the MCAC from Executive Director Bill Wedlake was on the front of their web site:
- "As we expand our offering from year to year with our ultimate goal of becoming full members of the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association, we hope you will share with us the excitement of MCAC sport."
The CCAA is the second tier of university/college sport in Canada. It has not held a national hockey playoff since 2001. The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) is currently the only college league in Canada. However, the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) includes college teams, and the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) operates a league of mostly Cégep teams.
The MCAC has concentrated on basketball, volleyball, and soccer for small local colleges and universities. Also, the MCAC has been used as a stepping-stone by CIS teams. Back in the CPAC days, Brandon University needed to enter another sport to maintain membership in the CWUAA. So, they started volleyball programs in the CPAC and entered the CWUAA when they were ready. The University of Winnipeg did likewise with their soccer teams in the early days of the MCAC. Starting in 2014-15, Brandon University entered teams in the MCAC soccer league.
There was always tremendous disparity in the quality of the hockey teams. Some schools simply enter clubs in local rec leagues. The league operated with only 3 teams per season under the MCAC banner.
- The MCAC web site has limited archives. The hockey information is particularly sparse, consisting of a very few stories and standings.
The league's best teams were always the ACC Cougars and the CMU Blazers. While it would be hard to characterize either of those as "varsity" teams, as opposed to "club" teams, they were the cream of the MCAC's crop.
The University of Winnipeg and Brandon University formerly operated CIS hockey teams and are current members of the MCAC. The Red River Rebels (very successful in other MCAC sports) once played intermediate hockey back in the 1970s, along with MCAA competitions.
Is it possible that the Cougars, Blazers, Bobcats, Wesmen, and Rebels would all revive their programs? Or a revived MCIHL? There are nearby independent U.S. schools without leagues, such as Minot State Beavers (ACHA), Williston State Tetons (NJCAA), Dakota-Bottineau Lumberjacks (NJCAA), and Jamestown Jimmies (ACHA).
Table of ChampionsEdit
MCAA 1970-71 to 1985-86Edit
|Season||Manitoba Champions||Head Coach|
|1970-71||Red River Rebels||Barry Smith|
|1971-72||Red River Rebels||Barry Smith|
|1972-73||Red River Rebels||Barry Smith|
|1973-74||Red River Rebels||Barry Smith|
|1974-75||Keewatin Badgers||Rudy Leonard|
|1975-76||Red River Rebels||Cam Brock|
|1976-77||Red River Rebels||John Schillinger|
|1977-78||Red River Rebels||John Schillinger|
|1978-79||Red River Rebels||John Schillinger|
|1979-80||Red River Rebels||John Schillinger|
|1980-81||Assiniboine Cougars||George McLeod|
|1981-82||Assiniboine Cougars||Larry Gillis|
|1982-83||Assiniboine Cougars||Larry Gillis|
|1983-84||Red River Rebels||Gary White|
|1984-85||Red River Rebels||Gary White|
|1985-86||Red River Rebels||Doug Stokes|
CPAC to 2006-07Edit
Source: Blurb on CPAC
MCAC 2007-08 to 2009-10Edit
Yearly links go to the season page.
|2007-08||CMU Blazers||Providence College|
|2008-09||CMU Blazers||Assiniboine Cougars|
|2009-10||Assiniboine Cougars||CMU Blazers|
- Canadian Colleges Athletic Association
- 4-West Championship
- British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League
- Pacific West Athletic Association
- Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference
- Prairie Athletic Conference
- Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference
- Midwest International College Hockey League
- Ontario Colleges Athletic Association
- RSEQ College League
- Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association
- Canadian Interuniversity Sport
- Canada West Universities Athletic Association
- Atlantic University Sport
- Ontario University Athletics