About the GTHL




Formed in 1911 by founder Frank D. Smith, the Toronto Hockey League (now the Greater Toronto Hockey League) was a dream turned reality for innumerable boys in the beginning of the Twentieth Century. Surrounded by other equally dedicated men who volunteered their time in serving to direct and guide the organization from its infancy, Mr. Smith, who led the League through its first 50 years as General Secretary-Treasurer, saw the THL become the largest single minor amateur hockey league in the world.

Even by the end of World War I, the THL continued to break all growth records. This was a surprise to everyone considering the great number of play- ers who had gone overseas from Senior and Intermediate ranks. Increases in membership were however realized in Junior, Juvenile, and Midget divisions due to the fact that players in these series were too young for military purposes.

Worthy of mention is the fact that during the 1920’s, the THL had between 8 and 12 ladies Senior and Intermediate Teams in any given year.

During the crucial years of World War II, the League was an active partici- pant in the Sports Service League for Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen.

As the years of growth continued, the League produced many hockey greats such as Charlie and Lionel Conacher, Franke Selke Jr., Bill Durnan, Bill Quack- enbush, Red Kelly, Sid Smith, Frank Mahovlich, Carl Brewer and Bob Pulford to name a token few. Other GTHL graduates include Rick Middleton, Steve Shutt, Paul Coffey, Adam Graves, Brendan Shanahan, Eric Lindros, Jason Spezza, Rick Nash, Michael Cammalleri, Mark Giordano, Brent Burns, John Tavares, Tyler Seguin, P.K. Subban, and Alex Pietrangelo. More recent graduates include Connor McDavid, Mitchell Marner, Jason Robertson, Anthony Cirelli, Bo Horvat, Jack and Quinn Hughes, Owen Power and Shane Wright. In fact, current records verify that over the past decade, each year there have been at least 65 NHL players who were graduates of the GTHL system.

Back in the early 1960s, the membership of the League had grown to over 20,000 youth playing on direct Teams. Today, the GTHL, formerly the Metropolitan Toronto Hockey League (1972-1998), has in excess of 35,000 participants including affiliated Teams in a territory defined as the Lake Ontario Region, which in addition to Toronto, Vaughan, Markham and Mississauga includes participants from Oakville, Brampton, Richmond Hill, and Ajax- Pickering.

During its period of growth since 1960, the GTHL began to encounter another growth factor, commonly referred to as “rising costs”. While maintaining its stability, the GTHL overhead costs have risen substantially in the past 30 years to the point where operating costs for the 2022-2023 season exceeded $10,000,000. Game ice is the single largest expense incurred by the league.

In the 2022-2023 season, game ice cost $6.76 million, which was a 33% increase over what the league paid in the 2012-2013 season. The League’s very existence seems a small miracle in itself when one realizes that the GTHL has always remained self-sufficient without subsidization from any government body. A massive undertaking by any standards, the GTHL today estimates that with more sophisticated coaching, development programs, and larger Club managements required to cope with all the operational necessities, there is at least one active volunteer for every three registered hockey players. Since 1911, over 600,000 volunteers have contributed to the development of minor hockey in the Greater Toronto area.


The GTHL is a unique and complex body involving literally tens of thousands of people at the various levels: players, parents, management and volunteers. Constituting a significant percentage of the minor hockey registrations within Hockey Canada, the GTHL, as the largest single amateur hockey league in the world, offers a phenomenal marketing area to corporations seeking new avenues of exposure.

As such, the GTHL, while adopting a cautious policy geared so as not to over-commercialize the intent and purpose of amateur hockey, welcomes reputable commercial sponsorship of certain approved concepts or programs which are deemed mutually beneficial to both amateur hockey support and the sponsor’s image.


1911/12 H.C. Austen
1912/13 – 1921/22 Fred C. Waghorne Sr.
1922/23 – 1925/26 Frank A. McEwen, B.A.
1926/27 – 1927/28 C. Higginbottom, F.C.I.S.
1928/29 – 1929/30 T. Edward Clegg
1930/31 – 1931/32 Fred G. Grant
1932/33 – 1933/34 Frank H. Fletcher
1934/35 – 1935/36 Fred A. Waghorne Jr.
1936/37 – 1937/38 E. Ray Graham
1938/39 – 1939/40 T.P. Topping
1940/41 – 1941/42 Dr. L.W. Goldring
1942/43 – 1943/44 A.D. Dault
1944/45 – 1945/46 Samuel I. Wells
1946/47 – 1947/48 John H. Nelson
1948/49 – 1949/50 Jack B. Bromley
1950/51 – 1951/52 Edward J. Morris
1952/53 – 1953/54 Fred A.G. Heintzman
1954/55 – 1955/56 J. Norman C. Sharp M.A.
1956/57 – 1957/58 Ralph G. Barber
1958/59 – 1959/60 Frank C. Moat
1960/61 – 1961/62 W. Earl Graham
1962/63 – 1963/64 Edward P. Hull
1964/65 – 1965/66 Albert W. Roberts
1966/67 – 1967/68 James R. Young
1968/69 – 1969/70 William T. Ruddock
1970/71 – 1971/72 Ernest Jones
1972/73 William Barnett
1973/74 Cam MacLellan
1974/75 – 1975/76 Wallace C. Rockall
1976/77 – 1977/78 Gerard Fullan
1976/77 – 1979/80 Phil Vitale
1980/81 – 2014/15 John Gardner


Alf Johnston Ross Magnus *
Len Barrett * Harry Nash *
Albert W. Roberts * Ernest Jones *
J. Norman Sharp * William Ruddock *
Gord Hughes Lou Del Brocco *
Ralph C. Barber * Gerard Fullan *
Max Scheif * James Young *
William Barnett * Edward Hull *
Fred A. Heintzman * Michael Penman
Chick Evans

* Deceased