The Alliston Junior C Hornets will be celebrating an historic milestone during the 2021 / 22 season.
The local club will be entering their 50th year as a hockey club.
Founded in 1971 the team originally played in the South-Central Junior D Hockey League. That league was promoted to Junior C in 1973 and became part of the Central Ontario Junior C Hockey League.
In 1976 the Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League was formed.
During those years the Hornets won the league championship six times, but never got past the semi-final round of the All-Ontario championships.
Another league change in 1994 created the Georgian Bay Junior C Hockey League when two leagues were merged.
The team went into a bit of a slump for just over a decade finishing down in the standings and failing to find any playoff glory.
In 2016, yet another league was created when eight Junior C leagues were merged to create the current Provincial Junior Hockey League.
In 2007, the Town of Tecumseth completed construction of a brand new arena with a 750 seat capacity.
Whether the new area acted as a catalyst for success can be debated, but the Hornets entered the new arena as a new team determined to be a success.
That season produced one of the best line-ups the team has ever seen.
After winning the league, they stormed through the playoffs to win the All-Ontario Clarence Schmaltz Cup with a final series win over the Essex 73's.
The final game of 2008 took place on Essex home ice in a series that went the distance and ended with an overtime goal in game seven early in the first OT period to give the Hornets the championship.
They have since gone on to win the Schmalz Cup in 2010, and were finalists in 2011 and 2012, going up against the Grimsby Peach Kings.
Since then they have become a consistent powerhouse team in the league with several league championships recorded.
Over the years, the club has produced several notable alumni who went on to play professionally in the NHL. That includes, Perry Anderson, Manny Legace, John Madden, Darrin Shannon, and Darryl Shannon.
After retiring from the NHL, Darrin Shannon returned as head coach for the team for several years and is still involved in the executive.
His experience and notoriety as a former NHLer was a big drawing point for many players who wanted to try out for the team and play under his direction.
Other notable alumni include Rick Bartlett who was a goalie with the original team and returned in the position of General Manger for several years and helped guide the team to their championships.
Former player Clay Birkett also returned as Director of Hockey Operations and served as head coach for several winning seasons.
The team executive are now reaching out to current and former players, fans, parents, and executives and staff, to keep them informed about special celebrations that will take place during this anniversary season.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times