|Acadie-Bathurst Titan||Baie-Comeau Drakkar|
|Blainville-Boisbriand Armada||Cape Breton Screaming Eagles|
|Chicoutimi Sagueneens||Drummondville Voltigeurs|
|Gatineau Olympiques||Halifax Mooseheads|
|Moncton Wildcats||PEI Rocket|
|Quebec Remparts||Rimouski Oceanic|
|Rouyn-Noranda Huskies||Saint John Sea Dogs|
|Shawinigan Cataractes||Sherbrooke Phoenix|
|Val-d'Or Foreurs||Victoriaville Tigres|
|Brandon Wheat Kings|
|Edmonton Oil Kings|
|Medicine Hat Tigers|
|Moose Jaw Warriors|
|Prince Albert Raiders|
|Red Deer Rebels|
|Swift Current Broncos|
|Prince George Cougars|
Close to a half-century ago, the hockey scene in Kitchener was ever changing. The community had embraced several levels of hockey in the 1950’s following the opening of the new Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
Recent forays had included the successful Kitchener Dutchmen senior teams in the OHA from 1947-53, as well as 1954-60 when the team represented Canada at the Olympics in 1956 (Torino, Italy) and 1960 (Squaw Valley, USA).
Their successors, the K-W Dutchmen joined the Eastern Professional Hockey League for 1960-61, changed to the Kitchener Beavers in the same league for 1961-62 and the Kitchener-Waterloo Tigers skated in the OHA senior ranks in 1962-63.
For the 1963-64 season, several options appeared viable:
A home-brew junior club and possibly forming a junior A league from the existing junior B central group to include Kitchener, Waterloo, Stratford and Galt.
The K-W Tigers would not operate again, so a new team in a re-organized senior league, where overage juniors could be placed by NHL teams.
A new team expanded into the OHA Junior A league or a professionally sponsored Junior A club placed by an NHL team.
Transferring a team - possibly the Neil McNeil Maroons from Toronto.
Steve Menich (past president of Kitchener Beavers) was named as Chair of an Exploratory Committee and a meeting held to discuss hockey’s future in Kitchener included Jim Malleck (Beavers); Ernie Goman and Oscar Wiles (K-W Dutchmen); Brent Madill (Kitchener Greenshirts Jr. B hockey); John Boyer (K-W Tigers); Tom Barron (Kitchener Minor Hockey Association); and Stan Gee (Police Boys Hockey Association). Joe Mattson (Kitchener Auditorium) was absent but represented by Harold Chapman.
A new group led by C.D Buller Pequegnat, included Barron, Malleck, Mattson, Menich and Wiles from the original group, along with Bobby Bauer, Pat Doherty, Eugene George, Ernie Goman, and Jerry Moser, and was empowered to make the application. Shares in the club were set at $10, raising more than $2,000 which covered the $1,500 needed to make the franchise application. It was agreed that if hockey is to be successful in Kitchener, it must be on a community-owned basis.
Before a Kitchener entry would be accepted it needed support from 75% of the existing franchises in Guelph, Hamilton, Montreal, Niagara Falls, Peterborough and St. Catharines.
Guess what happened?
The junior team in Guelph – the Royals – a “farm team” of the New York Rangers, finished last in 1962-63 (9 W, 35 L, 6 ties) and experienced financial difficulty. Eugene George was approached by the New York Rangers about the possibility of re-locating the team to a more solid hockey environment. The sponsored relocation occurred and scant months later, the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club was born.
On Tuesday October 1, 1963, Kitchener Rangers first coach Steve Brklacich welcomed a 54 player roster of training camp hopefuls, two weeks before the home opener.
The first exhibition game was Sunday, October 6, against Peterborough and the first league game featured Rangers and the visiting St. Catharines Black Hawks on Tuesday, October 15. Rangers John Beechey (from Gary Sabourin and Tom Miller) scored the first goal of the game, delighting the 1,013 fans in attendance. This goal at 11:36 of the first period, the first of two by Beechey that night, was the first goal in Kitchener Rangers history. Dave Cox was brilliant in goal and Sandy Fitzpatrick, the Rangers first Captain broke a 3-3 tie in the 3rd period. Rangers won their first game 4-3 and Junior A hockey was here to stay.
Eugene George provided astute leadership for the first five years until the NHL dropped sponsorship of junior teams. The team, through George, was turned over to the community for a token $1 and is now owned by the season ticket subscribers.
Now, 45 years later, from humble beginnings, but as a result of prudent foresight by volunteers in the community, the Kitchener Rangers are firmly established and a model of stability in the Canadian Hockey League.