The History of the MacNaughton Cup
The MacNaughton Cup is a trophy awarded annually to the regular season champion of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The trophy is named after James MacNaughton of Calumet, Michigan, who was an avid supporter of amateur ice hockey. The Cup is hand crafted of pure silver and stands almost three feet high and weighs nearly 40 pounds.
In 1913, MacNaughton purchased a cup trophy for approximately $2,000 and donated it to the President of the American Hockey Association, which was to be awarded to the league’s champion at the end of the season. The MacNaughton Cup remained with the American Hockey Association until 1932. From 1933 to 1950, the Cup was given to semi-pro and intermediate hockey teams in Michigan’s Copper Country.
In 1951, the MacNaughton family arranged to have the Cup awarded to the newly founded Midwest Collegiate Hockey League (MCHL), a precursor to the WCHA. The MCHL was composed of Michigan Tech, Colorado College, Denver, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Michigan Tech became the trustee for the MacNaughton Cup. In the original spirit of the trophy, the league decided to award the trophy to its regular season champion. In 1953, the MCHL became the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League (WIHL).
The Cup remained a part of the WIHL until the league was disbanded in March of 1958. There was no league play for the 1958-59 season and for the 1959-60 season, the seven teams resumed competition under the new name of the WCHA.
From the 1961-62 through the 1964-65 seasons, the MacNaughton Cup was awarded to the WCHA’s playoff tournament champion instead of the regular season champion, but the WCHA resumed awarding the Cup to the regular season champion again for the start of the 1965-66 season through the 1981-82 season.
Michigan Tech left the WCHA to join the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) for the 1981-82 season. Since Michigan Tech is the trustee of the Cup, the Cup went to the CCHA.
The Broadmoor Trophy was created as a replacement and awarded to the regular season champion until Michigan Tech returned to the WCHA for the start of the 1984-85 season. The McNaughton Cup also returned and continues to be awarded to the regular season champion today. With the return of the MacNaughton Cup, the Broadmoor Trophy is awarded to the WCHA tournament champion.