The Amateur Hockey Association of Canada (AHAC) was an amateur men's ice hockey league founded on 8 December 1886, in existence until 1898. It was the second ice hockey league organized in Canada, after one in Kingston, Ontario started in 1883. It was organized to provide a longer season to determine the Canadian champion. Prior to its founding the Canadian championship was determined in a tournament in Montreal. It is the first championship ice hockey league.
The 1893 champion of the league, Montreal Hockey Club were the first winner of the newly introduced Stanley Cup, who were awarded the Cup as the champions of the AHAC since the AHAC was considered the top league of Canada.
Afterwards, officers were elected for the upcoming inaugural season, who were:
President — Mr. Thomas D. Green
At the annual meeting in December 1897, the Ottawa Capitals applied to join the AHAC, but were turned down by the AHAC executive. The Capitals applied again at the annual meeting held in Montreal on December 10, 1898, leading to "a cataclysm in the hockey world." This time, the AHAC executive voted in favor of admitting the Capitals for league membership.
The Globe noted that the Capitals were "questionably amateur", referring to the paying of players. This led to the representatives of the Quebec Bulldogs, Montreal Victorias and Ottawa Hockey Club opting to withdraw from the association. The representative of the Montreal Hockey Club asked the group to reconsider but was declined, after which point Montreal HC also withdrew.
The withdrawing teams then met at the Windsor Hotel the same day. On December 14, the group met again and organized the Canadian Amateur Hockey League (CAHL), adding the Montreal Shamrocks for a complete conversion of the AHAC into the CAHL. The new league adopted the existing constitution of the AHAC, with the exception that new teams required unanimous approval of the CAHL executive in order to join the league.