The Nickel Belt League was an amateur ice hockey league in and around Sudbury, Ontario. It was comprised, at various times, of senior, intermediate, Junior "A", and Junior "B" teams - and sometimes of more than one level in the same season.

Sudbury was formed in th 1880's around the richest nickel deposits in the world. Yet its position in Northern Ontario was very isolated from the population centers in te rest of Ontario. Travel was very long and expensive to other towns.

The miners and their families did need entertainment. One of the least expensive, and most popular was hockey. Since competition with other cities was too expensive, Sudbury developed its own league. Many of the teams were sponsored by the bibg mining corporations.

The Nickel Belt League was first formed in 1927. It was at first an intermediate-level league but its teams would form an all-star team to enter into the Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) senior playoffs.

In 1931-32, the first junior team (Sudbury Cub Wolves) played in the league. The Falconbridge Falcons, a senior team, won the title and advanced as a team to the NOHA playoffs.

The league continued in this format, with junior and senior level teams, until 1940. It was very popular and successful, as players were brought in from throughout Canada. Jobs were scarce in the Great Depression of the 1930's, and the nickel mines could guarantee work to hockey players.

After 1940, World War II caused labour shortages. 1940-41 was the first season that the league did not operate. In 1941-42 it was solely a Junior "B" league and in 1942-43 it was half Junior B and half senior. The league had to stop again in 1943-44 and 1944-45.

It was re-formed in 1945-46 with senior, intermediate, and junior teams. It continued for four more years. In 1948-49 the league admitted it first out-of-town member - the North Bay Black Hawks. But that season the league playoffs had to be cancelled in order to play the NOHA playoffs.

The league disbanded in 1949. Inter-city transportation was now relatively easy. Senior play was now between the cities of southern Northern Ontario - Sudbury, North Bay, and Sault Ste. Marie - so that there was no need for a purely local league.


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