The Oshawa Generals are one of the most successful franchises in all of junior hockey. Their ability to recognize and draft talent has led them to major success and allowed them to rise up amongst the premier teams in the Canadian Hockey League. Although they have had many good teams, there were some that made it to their ultimate goal of winning the Memorial Cup. Those are the teams that have outshone all the others. Here are the greatest teams in Generals franchise history.
1939 Oshawa Generals
The 1939 Oshawa Generals started out hot during the regular season and ultimately kept that going, finishing with a record of 13-1-0. That record led to them getting first place in Group 2 of the OHA. Their dominance was proven in their stats as well as they ended up scoring 83 goals and only allowed 27 goals over the course of the season.
Led by future NHL players that included Billy Taylor, Norm McAtee and William Knott, the Generals dominated the playoffs as well and ended up playing the Toronto Native Sons for the J. Ross Robertson Cup. It was a hard fought battle but the Generals swept the Sons three games to none.
The Generals went on to play the Edmonton Athletic Club Roamers for the Memorial Cup in a best of five game series. In Game 1, the Generals dictated the pace of play and won the game by a score of 9-4, led by Taylor’s five goals. Game 2 was eerily similar to Game 1 with the Gens coming out on top 12-4, with Taylor scoring four goals. Edmonton got one back though as they won Game 3 by a score of 4-1 but it was too little, too late with the Gens coming out and beating them 4-2 in Game 4 for their first-ever Memorial Cup title.
1940 Oshawa Generals
Fresh off of their first-ever Memorial Cup title, the expectations were high coming into the 1939-40 season. Having lost their leading scorer and captain Billy Taylor to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Gens were expected to once again compete for the Memorial Cup.
Lead by returning players Norm McAtee, Jud McAtee and William Knott as well as future NHL players Wally Wilson and Frank Eddolls, the Generals finished first in the OHA with a 15-1-2 record. They scored a remarkable 120 goals while only allowing 46 goals during the season. They once again did well in the playoffs and ended up playing the Toronto Marlboros for the J. Ross Robertson Cup. It was a hard-fought series but the Gens ended up coming out on top three games to two.
Playing in their third straight Memorial Cup final, the Gens were to play the Kenora Thistles to try and defend their title. The Generals came out in the first game and played a solid defensive game. They won the game by a score of 1-0, shutting down the Thistles from ever getting any solid scoring chances. Game 2 was a similar event with the Generals winning by a score of 4-1.
Similar to the year before, their opponents came out and won Game 3, this time 4-3. The Generals were determined to end the series the following game and did just that, winning 4-2. They were the first Canadian junior team to become back-to-back champions and were considered one of the greatest teams of the past century.
1944 Oshawa Generals
The 1944 Generals were another special team from the get-go. Led by future NHL players such as Ross Lowe, Sid Smith and Val Delory, the Gens once again finished first in the OHA with a record of 23-3-0. They finished with 203 goals for and only 69 goals against.
Entering the playoffs, the Generals once again got off to a fast start and dominated their opposition. They ended up going to the OHA Final to battle for the J. Ross Robertson Cup against the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors. The Gens played a faster, more offensive game and ended up beating the Majors easily, four games to one.
The Generals were off to their fourth Memorial Cup Final in the past seven seasons, this time battling against the Trail Smoke Eaters of the Western Kootenay Junior Hockey League. This was by far their easiest Memorial Cup win to date as they absolutely dominated the Eaters and swept them four games to none. The final scores were 9-2 in Game 1, 5-2 in Game 2, 15-4 in Game 3, and 11-4 Game 4.
It ended up being the end of a dynasty for the Gens but it was a truly special time for the organization. They had just completed a run of dominance never before seen in the OHA.
1990 Oshawa Generals
Led by future NHL players such as Eric Lindros, Mike Craig, Rob Pearson, Fred Braithwaite, and overager Iain Fraser, the Generals ended up having a really good regular season. Finishing with a record of 42-20-4, the Gens finished first in the OHL. They played a really well-rounded game and it paid off as they finished the season second in goals for with 334 and third in goals against with 244.
In the first round, the Gens were slated to play the Cornwall Royals. The series was pretty even with each team winning two of the first four games but the Generals ended up winning Games 5 and 6 to win the series. They ended up with a bye in the second round and played the Peterborough Petes in the Division Finals. It was an easy series for the Gens, sweeping the Petes, setting up an OHL Final against the Kitchener Rangers.
The Rangers presented the toughest competition for the Gens as the series ended up going to seven games. The Rangers were up three games to one but the Generals battled back and took the next three games. It was one of the most interesting J. Ross Robertson Cup showdowns that many people have ever witnessed.
Fresh off of almost being eliminated, the Gens turned a new page in their book and turned up the heat when they needed it the most. Although their opponents put up a battle, they were no match for the Gens as they proceeded to win all of their games and ultimately take home their fourth Memorial Cup in franchise history.
2015 Oshawa Generals
Led by players such as Anthony Cirelli, Jack Studnicka, Michael Dal Colle and Riley Stillman, the Generals had a season for the ages. They ended up finishing the season with a record of 51-11-6 to clinch first in the Eastern Conference, beating out the Barrie Colts by 23 points.
Entering the playoffs, the Gens were set to play the Petes. Having a fast-paced attack certainly helped the Generals, who were able to establish an early lead in the series and never looked back. They ended up winning the series four games to one. Entering the second round, they played the Niagara IceDogs. Having time to rest before the series, the Gens once again dominated their opponent and won the series easily, four games to one.
They ended up making it to the OHL Final having only lost four games the entire postseason but they were in for a tough task. Led by budding superstar Connor McDavid, the Gens knew they had to shut down the speedster in order to have a chance at moving on. After three games, it looked like it could go all the way to seven. The Gens were only up two games to one but they turned on the jets and never looked back. They won a nail-biter on the road, 6-5 in overtime and then went home and clinched the J. Ross Robertson Cup with a 6-2 win.
The Generals went into Quebec with one goal on their minds and that was to win the Memorial Cup. They proceeded to do just that and went undefeated in the round robin. With the Rimouski Oceanic and the hometown Quebec Remparts mathematically eliminated, the Gens were set to face the Kelowna Rockets for the Memorial Cup.
Led by another future star for the Oilers in Leon Draisaitl, the Rockets were not going to be easy to defeat. Through regulation, the game was back and forth, with each team only scoring once. The overtime was an intense affair as well but Cirelli potted home the rebound to give the Generals their fifth Memorial Cup title in franchise history.
This is certainly a day Generals fans will not forget as it was their first title in 25 years. With such a tight-knit group of players and staff, it seemed destined from the beginning that they would make a run all the way to the end. The final game was indeed nerve-wracking but when the puck went in, no one was as happy as the people who don the red and white with such pride.
All in all, the Generals are for sure one of the best junior hockey franchises of all time. From their numerous Memorial Cups to the amount of NHL players that they roll out on a yearly basis, it is very impressive what they have done over the years. Generals fans are definitely lucky to be able to watch them be a good team on a yearly basis. Every year, they try to ice the best team possible and that in turn has allowed them to find all their successes over their long and storied history.
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My name is Mathieu Sheridan. I am a writer here at THW who covers the OHL and prospects in general.