Celebrating the history of the Victoria Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL)
The Victoria Cougars were a Western Hockey League team playing out of Victoria Memorial Arena from 1971 to 1994. Over their 23 year existence, the Cougars won three West Division titles and one WHL Championship. They established many WHL records that still stand today, including most wins in a season (60 in 1980-81) and fewest wins (5 in 1989-90). Fifty-eight Cougars went on to the National Hockey League, including Russ and Geoff Courtnall, Barry Pederson, Mel Bridgman and Hall of Fame goaltender Grant Fuhr.
In 1989, new owners took control of the Victoria Cougars that began a decline both on and off the ice. After five straight years of missing the playoffs (setting a Canadian major junior hockey record), the Cougars franchise relocated to Prince George in April 1994. Seventeen years later, the Western Hockey League returned to Vancouver Island with the Victoria Royals debuting in 2011.
Through our blog, we document the history of the Victoria Cougars and other Vancouver Island hockey stories