The Thunder Bay Twins were a Canadian Senior ice hockey team from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
The Twins won five Allan Cups as Canadian Senior Champion.
In 1970, the towns of Fort William and Port Arthur merged and became Thunder Bay, Ontario. The decision was made to merge
the two senior teams as well, resulting in the folding of the
Thunder Bay Senior Hockey League and the creation of the
Thunder Bay Twins.
USHL and the OHA
The Twins played in the United States Hockey League, a Semi-Professional league, for their first five seasons.
After their final season with the USHL in 1975, the Twins challenged and won the Western Canadian Senior "A" Championship and earned a chance to play for the Allan Cup. The Allan Cup is awarded to the National Senior Championship. The Eastern champion and their opponent was the Barrie Flyers of the OHA Senior A Hockey League. The Flyers got a foot up on the Twins in game one in Barrie, winning 8-5. In game two, the Twins evened the series 7-2, just to fall back a game in game three with a 7-4 loss -- both in Barrie. The series then moved up to Thunder Bay and the Twins caught fire, winning the next three games at home 8-2, 5-2, and 8-4 respectively to win their first national championship.
In 1975, the Thunder Bay Twins decided to join the OHA Senior A Hockey League. The played in the OHASr until 1979. In that time, the Twins won two regular season championships and one league playoff title.
Thunder Bay Hockey League
From at least 1980 until 1982, the Twins competed in the Thunder Bay Hockey League. This all-city super-league consisted of four teams. With the Twins were the Tier II Junior "A" Thunder Bay Kings, the Intermediate A Thunder Bay Blazers and the CIAU Lakehead Thunderwolves. The Twins were easily the top team in the 1980-81 season and swept the playoffs. The 1981-82 season had the other three teams give the Twins more trouble. The Twins were upset by the Nor'Westers in the semi-final, and the league was won by the Jr. A Kings.
In 1981, the Twins hosted a round robin tournament to determine an Allan Cup champion. The Twins started off the tournament against the Petrolia Squires, defeating them 8-3. In game two, they faced the Grand Falls Cataracts and defeated them 9-4. In the third and final game of the round robin, the Twins met the St. Boniface Mohawks and beat them 5-4 in overtime to clinch first place in the round robin. In the tournament semi-final, something went wrong for the Twins. In their second straight game against the Mohawks, the Twins were shocked 4-3 and eliminated from the tournament despite a 3-1 record. The Petrolia Squires won the 1981 Allan Cup.
The Twins played a yearly series in Manitoba’s Central Amateur Senior Hockey League in 1979-80 and again in 1980-81. In 82, they were granted full membership, however the CAHA did not approve the transfer. The Twins finished first during the regular season, but were ineligible for the playoffs.
In 1984, the Twins were Manitoba and Western Canadian champions. They played host to the Cambridge Hornets at the Fort William Gardens in a best-of-seven series. The Twins opened the series squeezing out a 3-2 victory over the Hornets. Cambridge came back in game two and rocked the Twins 7-3. After this, the Twins battened down the hatches and fought through a pair of tight wins (5-3, 6-5) to clinch the series in game five with a convincing 6-1 win to clinch the team's second Allan Cup.
In 1985, the Twins repeated as Manitoba and Western champions and found themselves in a best-of-seven marathon with the Corner Brook Royals in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. So far from home, the Twins may have accomplished one of the greatest feats in amateur hockey history. The Corner Brook Royals crushed the jet lagged Twins 9-5 in game one. Game two went a little better for the Twins, as they forced overtime but were overpowered by the Royals 3-2. Game three needed to be won by the Twins, but again they were embarrassed by the Eastern champions 9-5. With their back against the wall down 3-games-to-none, the Twins began their trek back. Game four ended with a 4-2 nail biter of a win for the Twins. Game five saw the Twins embarrass a seemingly deflated Royals squad 8-3. The twin took game six 2-0 and then finished the comeback with an unbearably close 5-4 victory. With their third Allan Cup victory, the Twins became the only team in Allan Cup history to comeback from a 3-0 deficit to win the Allan Cup. As the tournament is now in a round robin format and a revert to best-of-sevens are very unlikely, the feat may never be repeated.
OHA and back to Manitoba
The 1987-88 season had the Twins win the Manitoba and Western titles and find themselves in the Allan Cup final again. Playing at home in the Gardens, the Twins found themselves against a starkly lesser opponent. The Eastern champions in 1988 were the Charlottetown Islanders. The Twins easily swept the Islanders by scores of 7-4, 10-2, 9-3, and 7-1 respectively to win their fourth ever Allan Cup.
The 1989 Allan Cup brought a significant challenge to the Twins, hosting a Allan Cup round robin tournament with three other teams. In game one of the round robin, the Twins met an old rival in the St. Boniface Mohawks and lost 5-3. In game two, the Twins met the Montreal Chomedy and defeated them 6-3. In the final game of the round robin, the Twins met the Bassano Hawks and defeated soundly 7-1 to clinch second place. Thunder Bay found themselves in a sudden death semi-final against Montreal for the right to play in the final. The Twins beat Chomedey 6-3. The final was set up as a best-of-three games set and was against St. Boniface. The Twins avenged the 1981 Allan Cup semi-final loss to the Mohawks by defeating them 2-0 and then 4-2 to win their fifth Allan Cup championship.
In 90, Thunder Bay were involved in a first, after winning the Manitoba title, the Twins headed east instead of west. With Senior hockey on the demise, the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association awarded 2 Allan Cup berths to Manitoba’s Central Amateur Senior Hockey League. Runner-up St. Boniface Mohawks entered western playoffs.
After winning the 1990-91 Manitoba title and the Western Canadian championship, the Twins found themselves yet again in the Allan Cup final. The Eastern champion was the Charlottetown Islanders, a team that the Twins had embarrassed in 1988 in a lopsided four-game-sweep. This time the Islanders came out to return the favour in their own home rink in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Islanders won four straight games (5-3, 5-2, 5-4, and 5-4 in overtime) to kill the Twins dream of a sixth Allan Cup.
That summer, the Colonial Hockey League announced plans to expand to the city of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Twins made way for the Semi-Professional Thunder Bay Thunder Hawks who began play in the 1991-92 season. Senior glory would not return to the city of Thunder Bay until the creation of the Thunder Bay Bombers many years later.
The 1974-75 Thunder Bay Twins were inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
Canadian Senior (Allan Cup)
Northern Ontario Senior Championships 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983
Manitoba Senior Championships (Pattison Cup) 1984, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991
Western Canadian Senior Championships (Patton Cup) 1975, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1991
Canadian Senior Championships (Allan Cup) 1975, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989
United States Hockey League Championships 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
Canadian International Hockey League Championships 1979
Thunder Bay Hockey League Championships 1981
Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame 1974-75, 1983-84, 1984-85, 1987-88, and 1988-89 teams
Note: click on season for roster or on league for direct link to that season.
|1970-71||Northern Ontario Senior Playoffs||5||3||2||0||26||19||-||-||Won Series|
|1970-71||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||4||1||3||0||16||22||-||-||lost Semi-Final|
|1972-73||USHL||42||34||7||1||312||131||69||1st North||Won League|
|1972-73||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||9||5||4||0||35||43||-||-||lost Final|
|1973-74||USHL||48||35||12||1||285||153||71||1st North||Won League|
|1973-74||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||6||3||3||0||28||16||-||-||lost Final|
|1974-75||USHL||48||36||10||2||315||159||74||2nd North||Won League|
|1974-75||Western Allan Cup Playoffs||7||6||1||0||37||20||-||-||Won Patton Cup|
|Allan Cup Final||6||4||2||0||37||25||-||-||Won Allan Cup|
|1978-79||Ontario Senior Playoffs||6||2||4||0||NA||NA||-||-||lost Final|
|1979-80||Independent||stats not available||-||-||-|
|1979-80||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||12||7||5||0||NA||NA||-||-||lost Final|
|1980-81||Allan Cup Tournament||4||3||1||0||25||15||-||-||lost Semi-Final|
|1981-82||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||5||2||3||0||NA||NA||-||-||lost Semi-Final|
|1982-83||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||3||0||3||0||13||23||-||-||lost Final|
|1983-84||Western Allan Cup Playoffs||3||3||0||0||15||10||-||-||Won Patton Cup|
|Allan Cup Final||5||4||1||0||23||18||-||-||Won Allan Cup|
|1984-85||CASHL||stats not available||3rd||Won League|
|1984-85||Western Allan Cup Playoffs||7||4||3||0||29||24||-||-||Won Patton Cup|
|Allan Cup Final||7||4||3||0||31||30||-||-||Won Allan Cup|
|1987-88||Western Allan Cup Playoffs||stats not available||-||-||Won Patton Cup|
|Allan Cup Final||4||4||0||0||33||10||-||-||Won Allan Cup|
|1988-89||CASHL||stats not available||1st||lost Final|
|1988-89||Allan Cup Tournament||6||5||1||0||28||14||-||-||Won Allan Cup|
|1989-90||CASHL||stats & results not available||Won League|
|1989-90||Eastern Allan Cup Playoffs||stats not available||-||-||lost Final|
|1990-91||CASHL||stats & results not available||Won League|
|1990-91||Patton Cup||7||7||0||0||-||-||Won W Canada|
|Allan Cup||4||0||4||0||13||20||-||-||Lost Series|