The Canadian Ball Hockey Association (CBHA) is a registered non-profit organization. It is officially recognized as the governing body of the sport in Canada by the International Street & Ball Hockey Federation and Hockey Canada. The CBHA provides the following administrative services:
- Organize Mens, Womens & Juniors National Championships
- Organize Youth Regional Championships
- Organize Team Canada Program for International Competitions
- Organize Mens B, C and D Regional Eastern & Western Championships
- Assist provinces with setting up ball hockey leagues
- Print and distribute rulebooks for members
- Promote the sport of ball hockey across Canada
- Represent Canada at the International level
- Set bylaws and regulations for members as a guideline
- Obtain National sponsorships
- Resolve any disputes leagues or teams may have with provinces
- Arrange national insurance program which includes general liability and medical/dental accident insurance
- Provide a national certification program for officials
- Provide a national registration program for its members
- Distribute coaching materials
- Provide buying programs for balls, uniforms and trophies
Founded in 1977, by John Forrest, Al Tomalty, and Ken White, the CBHA’s first Men’s National Championship was an open event held in Ottawa in 1978, with 16 competing teams from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta. The York Canadians, from Toronto, defeated Ottawa Globe Trophy 11 to 2 to capture the inaugural title. This event has continued annually since then, with the top teams from each province qualifying through their respective provincial championships.
Over the years storied franchises have arisen, and many outstanding athletes have left their mark on the history of the sport, including NHL’ers Dino Ciccarelli, Lou Franceschetti and Glen Metropolit who have their names engraved on the National trophy. A detailed list of medal winning teams can be found under the Canadian Cup section of this website, and a list of the game’s greatest players in the Awards section.
In order to promote inter-provincial play at the less competitive levels, the CBHA began hosting Men’s Eastern & Western Canada ‘B’ Championships in 1989, and expanded to ‘C’ Championships in 2000. These annual events are designed to gather the provinces into two separate regional competitions, with the winners being promoted to the next higher level of play in the following year.
The first Women’s Nationals were held in 1987 in Calgary, with the Canadiana Cougars, of Toronto, needing double overtime to win the championship 4 to 3 over St. John’s NTV, from Newfoundland. Manitoba and BC were the other participating provinces. The women’s game has grown steadily since that time, and featured many ice hockey Olympians at the elite level over the years. Since 2003, each year has focused on Participation for the women’s program, and the Nationals have offered ‘B’ level and ‘C’ level championships as well.
In 1999, Toronto hosted the CBHA’s inaugural Junior Nationals (under 19’s) with the Vaughan Capitals, of Ontario, claiming gold with an 8 to 0 win over the BC Allstars, and Belleville (ON) defeating Alberta for the bronze medal. The junior programs across Canada are extremely popular for the 16 to 18 year old age groups, and falls under the auspices of the numerous minor ball hockey programs in the CBHA, which offer house leagues for children as young as five. Youth Regional Championships commenced in 2003, with events in Eastern and Western Canada for under-16’s, under-13’s, and under-10’s. Details can be found in the Youth Cups section of this website.
The CBHA was a founding member of the International Street & Ball Hockey Association, and has continued to provide guidance and leadership to the sport’s development worldwide since its 1993 inception. Canada has attended each of the World Junior and Senior Championships, which commenced with the Men’s in 1996, in Bratislava, Slovakia, and sports the best medal count of the member countries. The International Ice Hockey Federation has officially recognized the ISBHF, as the governing body of street and ball hockey.
The importance of the Canadian Ball Hockey Association to the grass roots development of hockey was recognized by Hockey Canada in 1999, when it invited the CBHA to join as an Associate Member, a partnership, slowly being cultivated, to foster the growth of street hockey in Canada.
From humble beginnings, with an estimated 1,700 adult members playing in 1977, the sport of ball hockey in Canada has grown to over 50,000 players of all ages registered in organized leagues. Through reorganization, marketing initiatives, and new growth strategy, the number of registrants is expected to double over the next five years, as the sport’s popularity skyrockets.