MacNaughton Cup

Tradition Starts Here

Dating back 105 years to its original purchase in 1913, handcrafted of pure silver, standing three-feet high, and weighing more than 40 pounds, the MacNaughton Cup is the shining symbol of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and its distinguished tradition as a premier collegiate hockey conference since the league’s founding in 1951.

The MacNaughton Cup is awarded annually to the winner of the league’s regular season championship, and as a traveling trophy, is on display each season at the home of the reigning champion. Beginning in 2005-06, the WCHA also began awarding a replica MacNaughton Cup to the regular season champion each season.


From Copper Country to the WCHA

The MacNaughton Cup has traveled a long and winding road since its initial purchase in 1913 by the Calumet (Michigan) and Hecla Mining Company, but officially settled into a home with the original WCHA (MCHL/WIHL) in 1951.

In 1913, James MacNaughton, then president of Calumet and Hecla, Inc., and an avid supporter of amateur ice hockey, authorized the president of the American Amateur Hockey Association to purchase a cup (he said the price didn’t matter) and present it to the Association’s championship team at the end of the season. The first winner was a team from the Cleveland (Ohio) Athletic Club. The MacNaughton Cup remained with the AAHA until it ceased operations in 1920.

From 1921 to 1950, the Cup was fought for by semi-pro and intermediate hockey aggregations in Michigan’s Copper Country. In 1951, the cup was donated by Calumet and Hecla, Inc., through the generosity of Mr. & Mrs. Endicott R. Lovell, to the newly-founded Midwest Collegiate Hockey League, forerunner of the WCHA. Lovell, president of the company at that time and the son-in-law of James MacNaughton, was also an ardent supporter of amateur hockey.

The MCHL chose – in the original spirit – to award the trophy to its regular season champion. The MacNaughton Cup remained a part of the MCHL/WIHL until the league disbanded in March of 1958 for one year. In 1959-60, the seven original teams resumed formal competition under the name Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

The MacNaughton Cup has gone to the league’s regular season winner on all but seven occasions since 1951. From 1962-65, the MacNaughton Cup was presented to the league playoff winner.

In 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84, the trophy left with Cup custodian Michigan Tech and was presented to the champion of the CCHA for those three seasons.


The WCHA Regular Season Championship

Winning the WCHA Men’s League regular season championship, as has proven time and time again over the past 66 seasons, is traditionally one of the toughest titles to win in collegiate sports. The conference regular season title includes the awarding of the fabled MacNaughton Cup to the team champion.

Since the Association’s founding in 1951-52, the number of games that have made up the league’s regular season championship race have fluctuated as well as the methods of determining the champions. The number of league games have ranged from a low of 12 in the founding season of 1951-52 to a high of 35 games that ran from 1986-87 through 1988-89. Since 1997-98, the conference schedule has consisted of 28 games per team.

Methods of determining the annual regular season team champion have included points accumulated (1951-58, 1973-79 and 1980-present) and winning percentage (1959-73, 1979-80). Beginning in 2017-18, the league moved to a three-points-per-game model.



All-Time WCHA Men’s League Regular Season Champions
Season Champion GP Record Pts/Pct.
1951-52 Colorado College 12 10-2-0 20
1952-53 Minnesota (co) 20 16-4-0 19
Michigan (co) 16 12-4-0 19
1953-54 Minnesota 20 16-3-1 20½
1954-55 Colorado College 18 14-4-0 19
1955-56 Michigan 18 15-2-1 19
1956-57 Colorado College 18 14-4-0 19
1957-58 North Dakota (co) 20 15-5-0 16
Denver (co) 22 12-10-0 16
1958-59 No League Play
1959-60 Denver 22 17-4-1 .795
1960-61 Denver 18 17-1-0 .944
1961-62 Michigan Tech 20 17-3-0 .850
1962-63 Denver (co) 18 12-6-0 .667
North Dakota (co) 18 11-5-2 .667
1963-64 Michigan 14 12-2-0 .857
1964-65 North Dakota 16 13-3-0 .813
1965-66 Michigan Tech 20 15-4-1 .775
1966-67 North Dakota 22 16-6-0 .727
1967-68 Denver 18 15-3-0 .822
1968-69 Michigan Tech 20 14-5-1 .725
1969-70 Minnesota 26 18-8-0 .692
1970-71 Michigan Tech 22 18-4-0 .818
1971-72 Denver 28 19-9-0 .679
1972-73 Denver 28 20-8-0 .714
1973-74 Michigan Tech 28 20-6-2 42
1974-75 Minnesota 32 24-8-0 48
1975-76 Michigan Tech 32 25-7-0 50
1976-77 Wisconsin 32 26-5-1 53
1977-78 Denver 32 27-5-0 54
1978-79 North Dakota 32 22-10-0 44
1979-80 North Dakota 28 21-6-1 .768
1980-81 Minnesota 28 20-8-0 40
1981-82 North Dakota 26 19-7-0 38
1982-83 Minnesota 26 18-7-1 37
1983-84 Minnesota Duluth 26 19-5-2 40
1984-85 Minnesota Duluth 34 25-7-2 52
1985-86 Denver 34 25-9-0 50
1986-87 North Dakota 35 29-6-0 58
1987-88 Minnesota 35 28-7-0 56
1988-89 Minnesota 35 27-6-2 56
1989-90 Wisconsin 28 19-8-1 39
1990-91 Northern Michigan 32 25-3-4 54
1991-92 Minnesota 32 26-6-0 52
1992-93 Minnesota Duluth 32 21-9-2 44
1993-94 Colorado College 32 18-9-5 41
1994-95 Colorado College 32 22-9-1 45
1995-96 Colorado College 32 26-2-4 56
1996-97 North Dakota (co) 32 21-10-1 43
Minnesota (co) 32 21-10-1 43
1997-98 North Dakota 28 21-6-1 43
1998-99 North Dakota 28 24-2-2 50
1999-00 Wisconsin 28 23-5-0 46
2000-01 North Dakota 28 18-4-6 42
2001-02 Denver 28 21-6-1 43
2002-03 Colorado College 28 19-4-5 43
2003-04 North Dakota 28 20-5-3 43
2004-05 Denver (co) 28 19-7-2 40
Colorado College (co) 28 19-7-2 40
2005-06 Minnesota 28 20-5-3 43
2006-07 Minnesota 28 18-7-3 39
2007-08 Colorado College 28 21-6-1 43
2008-09 North Dakota 28 17-7-4 38
2009-10 Denver 28 19-5-4 42
2010-11 North Dakota 28 21-6-1 43
2011-12 Minnesota 28 20-8-0 40
2012-13 St. Cloud State (co) 28 18-9-1 37
Minnesota (co) 28 16-7-5 37
2013-14 Ferris State 28 20-6-2 42
2014-15 Minnesota State 28 21-4-3 45
2015-16 Michigan Tech (co) 28 18-7-3 39
Minnesota State (co) 28 16-5-7 39
2016-17 Bemidji State 28 20-6-2-2 64
2017-18 Minnesota State 28 22-5-1-0 67
The fabled MacNaughton Cup has gone to the WCHA regular season champion in all but seven seasons . From 1962-65, the MacNaughton Cup was presented to the league playoff winner. In 1981-82, 1982-83 and 1983-84, the trophy left with Cup custodian Michigan Tech and was presented to the champion of the CCHA for those three seasons.
Most WCHA Regular Season Championships, by Team
No Team (Championship Seasons; * denotes co-champion)
15 North Dakota (1958*, 1963*, 1965, 1967, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1997*, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2011)
14 Minnesota (1953*, 1954, 1970, 1975, 1981, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1997*, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2013*)
12 Denver (1958*, 1960, 1961, 1963*, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1986, 2002, 2005*, 2010)
9 Colorado College (1952, 1955, 1957, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2005*, 2008)
7 Michigan Tech (1962, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1974, 1976, 2016*)
3 Michigan (1953*, 1956, 1964)
Minnesota Duluth (1984, 1985, 1993)
Wisconsin (1977, 1990, 2000)
Minnesota State (2015, 2016*, 2018)
1 Northern Michigan (1991)
St. Cloud State (2013*)
Ferris State (2014)
Bemidji State (2017)