Simply put we are a beer league. But more precisely “The Champagne of Beer Leagues”. A league that formed in the dimly lit Wainfleet “Wain Lee” Arena, with 10 – 12 players but always, always two goalies, because everybody knows one goalie pick up sucks. Turn the net backwards, hit the post, tie a jersey, it all sucks. The two goalie pick up shifted to Welland and that’s when everything changed.
The original 10 – 12 quickly grew through the “I know a guy” system, and formed into a two team pick up hockey night. This is when the legendary jersey and logo that we wear to this day was created. Each week when you showed up at the arena, line ups are posted, beers in the room, and the roots began to form. Preceding the King Street Cup these years concluded with the WNHL All Star game, where two GM’s were selected for a live pregame draft and an All Star game at the Meridian Center in St. Catharines and a post game affair hosted by the historic Rex Hotel.
Good times attract good people, and Willard. The WNHL soon had enough players to form 4 team league and the King Street Cup was forged out of the the once mighty Welland Steel. The Original Four franchises the Atlas Steelers, the inaugural King Street Cup Champions. The Welland Undertakers, the second year champs. The Welland River Rats who won nothing but have a great name, and the always hapless but loveable Welland StelCobras. This is when the WNHL established the yearly redraft. To encourage the social aspect of the league teams redrafted players every year with a live draft being held at the Rex hotel in August of each year.
The success of the league led to the creation of the WNHL Xmas Classic and the Championship Hats. The one day, four team, tournament, set the precedent for the WNHL going forward by making the focus charitable donations by making the first tiebreaker in the tournament total amount of food donated per team. This became a center piece of the tournament and at the time of this writing the WNHL has raised 8765 pounds of food for the Welland food bank, and has become one of the largest food drives in Welland every year. The tournament has seen champions such as the Welland Blue Stars, the Jacked Daniels, and most recently the Seaway Maulers
Good times attract good people and Kellmen. The WNHL expands to 6 teams. The original six-pack. The league is made up of the Atlas Steelers, Crown Room Kings, Merritt Islanders, Townline Tunnelers, Lincoln Street Legends and the Dain City Dusters. As the league grows so do the charitable contributions. Fundraising through auctions and draws at the King Championship, with proceeds going to local charities. Growing on this success the WNHL introduced the WNHL Super Sunday. A league game played on a Sunday afternoon in the Meridian Center, with each team spending the month running a donation drive all month with all proceeds being donated to an agreed upon charity. At the time of this writing the WNHL has donated $12,000 to local charities. We even got a giant cheque made.
We are now proud to say that the WNHL continues to grow and in 2022 the league expanded once again to eight teams. The expansion teams include the Rose City Hockey Club (RCHC), and the Crowland Murder. With the Dain City Dusters relocating and rebranding as the Pelham Effing Hams, they will join the rest of the original six pack in the quest for the greatest trophy in all of beer league sports. The King Street Cup.
In conclusion the WNHL has grown from humble origins of friends playing hockey and has grown to a league with over 100 players, 8 teams, 4 games a week at 2 arenas. We have harnessed the power of the people in this league to make logos for our leagues and teams and tournaments, to have merchandise printed for teams including shirts, hats, and sweatpants. We’ve had catered golf tournaments organized, catered, and hosted all by WNHL players. The players are all working together for the betterment of the league and it’s led to growth and success. The league puts comradery and community first, and will continue to grow and give back (with our sore backs).