Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association – A History

 Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) was officially incorporated as a non-profit entity on February 6, 1974. The Saskatoon Hockey Association as it was known prior has a much longer history in Saskatoon.

The 2023-24 season was SMHA's 50th Anniversary season!  Thank you to all who have contributed to SMHA's success over its history.

In October, 1952, the Saskatoon Playgrounds Hockey League was founded. The Playgrounds Hockey League provided the youth of Saskatoon the opportunity to play organized hockey through the school system. The original Commissioner of the Saskatoon Playground Hockey league was Robert J. Macdonald. The Playgrounds Hockey League provided grassroots opportunities for youth to play hockey. The Playgrounds Hockey League operated until 1968. 

Three other leagues operated during this time period (1952-1968) as well. These leagues served the more elite players. The Saskatoon Minor Hockey League had six U18 teams and six juvenile teams in its leagues. The Kinsmen Bantam League operated with six U15 teams in it. The Special C’s League had six U13 teams.  These leagues would be the equivalent to today's Saskatoon AA Hockey, the SMHA Committee that operates the SMHA's U13, U15 and U18 AA hockey programs.

The Saskatoon Hockey Association began operating in 1968-1969. 242 teams participated that season using three City of Saskatoon rinks – Kinsmen, Lions and Exhibition – along with Rutherford Rink. 12 outdoor rinks were also used to run the leagues! Back then, the City of Saskatoon did not charge minor hockey for ice rentals!  Compare that to today's $300 per hour ice rental rates!

Moving to the present, SMHA had 253 of its own teams in 2023-24.  Including its interlock MHA partners in Clavet, Delisle, Martensville and Warman, 309 total teams participated in 2023-24.

SMHA offers hockey programs for male and female children from the age of 5 to 17 years of age. SMHA is proud to offer programs for players of all abilities. With four to five levels of hockey for each age division, players of all abilities can compete and enjoy the great sport of hockey. SMHA is one of the few minor hockey associations in Canada to offer competitive No Body Checking Hockey Leagues for players in the U15 and U18 age groups. SMHA has offered such programs since 1996.  A child in the SMHA system can play No Body Checking hockey from the age of 5 though the age of 17 if they wish to. 

Effective with the 2019-20 hockey season, SMHA began offering No Body Checking Hockey in U15 B and U18 C as well as in U18 B and U18 C.  Body checking is part of U15 AA and U15 A as well as in U16AA, U18 AAA, U18 AA and U18 A.

SMHA’s area of emphasis will always be ensuring its grassroots programs offer opportunities for today’s youth to participate in hockey. However, SMHA is proud of the development opportunities that it has provided over the years to players of elite ability. For a relatively small sized city, SMHA has continually developed a great deal of players that have moved on to play at higher levels such as U18 AAA, Junior, College and professionally.

As with most team sports, SMHA is most proud that participants in minor hockey tend to become better human beings and better citizens based on the many life lessons that sport, especially team sports, contribute to a young person’s development.

SMHA thanks the many volunteers, past and present that have contributed to the organization's success.

History of SMHA City Playoff Champions

Please click here to see the history of SMHA City of 2021

History of SMHA Provincial Reps in SHA Playoffs

Please click here to see the history of SMHA's Provincial Rep teams in SHA Provincial Playoffs as of 2021