Mississauga Memories: Majors Memorial Cup Madness

Photo Credits: Rob Beintema

OHL hockey has been part of Mississauga for over 25 years. When the final buzzer goes off on March 22nd, it will end an era. The Steelheads will head into the playoffs one more time as Mississauga. 

For the 2024-25 season, the Steelheads will play in Brampton, pending league approval, at the CAA Centre, formally known as the Powerade Centre. It was home of the Brampton Battalion from 1998-2013. The team would relocate to North Bay. The Steelheads suffered the same fate as the Battalion, which was struggling to pull in attendance.

Mississauga has undergone several name changes from the Icedogs, St. Michael’s Majors and Steelheads. 

Although attendance was an issue for many years, Mississauga had memorable seasons. One of my favourite years watching the team was the 2010-11 season.

The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors won the bid to host the Memorial Cup Tournament, the biggest tournament in junior hockey. That season, Mississauga had a strong team of players and future NHLers, such as Casey Cizikas, Dylan DeMelo, Devonte Smith-Pelly, and Stuart Percy. 

Head Coach Dave Cameron knew he had a good team but made them better by trading for veterans Justin Shugg, Marc Cantin, Chris DeSousa and Michael D’Orazio. The team came close to acquiring Ryan Ellis, but a trade would fall through 

Dave Cameron, behind the bench/photo credits Peter J. Thompson The National Post

The Majors would dominate the 2010-11 season. They had two 10-game winning streaks and finished the season 53-13-2.

In the playoffs, the Majors played the Belleville Bulls in round one. St. Mike’s wasted no time and swept them. In round two, the same story, they swept the Sudbury Wolves. Mississauga would meet Niagara in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Icedogs would give Mississauga their first playoff loss, but the Majors prevailed and won the series in five games.

Regardless of the outcome of their season, Mississauga’s ticket to the Memorial Cup was already punched, but it wasn’t enough for them. They would make it to the OHL finals to face off against the second-best team that year, the Owen Sound Attack. 

The Majors seemed to have control of the series, going up 2-0. The Attack wouldn’t make it easy and would tie the series 2-2. Both teams would fight hard. Mississauga would go up 3-2, but Owen Sound won game six, and eventually, all roads led to game seven. I remember this game like it was yesterday. The Hershey Centre (now the Paramount Fine Foods Centre) was sold out. The building was packed with Owen Sound fans, about 70% of whom were Owen Sound fans. 

The game was tied 2-2 going into overtime. Owen Sound went into the Majors zone, and Jarrod Maidens’ pass went off Majors forward Riley Brace’s skate and past the right pad of J.P. Anderson. The Attack won the series and the OHL Championship.

Unfortunately, the Majors lost to the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-1 in the Memorial Cup Final. But that season will forever go down in history as one of the best and most memorable seasons of OHL hockey in Mississauga. The Majors were a rare team to have a historic season and not win a championship. 

Despite the outcome of this season, it will always hold a special place for me.

JP Anderson making a glove save/photo credits Nathan Denette The Canadian Press

Fans of the team today still say that this was their favourite season of OHL hockey in Mississauga; super fan Mikey Magnowski says, “The 2010-2011 season would be my favourite season because the team hosted the Memorial Cup tournament and overall the atmosphere that the building had throughout that season was amazing. Many great players had played on that team during that season to make a great push in the playoffs. Attendance was good. The arena was always busy during that season, and seeing how the residents of Mississauga came to support the team through the regular season and playoff run. I was a teenager when the Memorial Cup season occurred, but I still remember it. The building was filled to the brim with fans from all across Canada, and you couldn’t even walk through the arena with that many people in the building. It was a safety hazard having that many people there with standing tickets being sold; I never would’ve thought to miss something like that because I doubt I would be able to experience something like the Memorial Cup ever again hosted in Mississauga”.

The Steelheads and OHL hockey have offered us so many good times and memories, and hopefully, they will continue to do that with their new home in Brampton.

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