In what used to be the “Little Theatre” on the first floor Chaminade, the MSCHA was founded in 1971. The Mid-States Club Hockey Association (MSCHA) the main high school hockey league in Missouri (and often referred to as Mid-States), The league is made up of teams in St. Louis, Missouri metro area, all teams are located in Missouri except for one team, Granite City High School, located in Illinois. The MSCHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of high school hockey.
Originally known as the Area High School Club Hockey League
, the league was founded in 1971 with significant seed money and sponsorship from Union Electric
, as well as support from the St. Louis Blues
, including the donation of the Challenge Cup for the league's winner and free usage of The Arena
for the final. At the time, organized youth hockey was experiencing a boom in the St. Louis area, mostly caused by the Blues' arrival and subsequent appearance in three Stanley Cup
finals. Eight teams contested that first season including Chaminade College Prep. In its infancy, the Chaminade Red Devils were originally coached by Bro. John McCarthy, S.M. who was followed by Ron Koblick and briefly by Dr. Peter Hummel into the 80’s. The league grew quickly, achieving a high of over 50 teams in its second year (when it also changed its name to the current MSCHA), but it also experienced a high rate of attrition, as clubs were disbanded due to loss of players or the removal of school support. Nevertheless, throughout the '70s the league enjoyed great success. Plans were tabled for expansion to Kansas City
, but they were dropped following a dispute over travel costs and the loss of Columbia's ice rinks.
During the 1980s, the league went through several periods of change; a JV league was established for younger players, schools from new population centers such as West St. Louis County
and St. Charles County
joined. The playoff format was also changed after the 1984 season into the current system. It was around this time that Tom McCoy took over the reigns as Head Coach of the Chaminade Red Devils coaching both the JV and Varsity teams. McCoy made a statement as a disciplinarian and helped turn around the Red Devil ice hockey program by leading them to their first back to back Frozen Four appearances in 1980-81 and again in the 1981-82 season. This set the stage for the future of Chaminade Hockey as the former hard hitting Captain from these teams, Mark Finke ‘82, was personally handed the whistle from Coach McCoy and officially took over the Varsity Hockey program in the 1988-89 season along with Coaches Kenny Kramer and Peter Sheahan ‘82. The 1990s saw a shift in the balance of power from North County teams to newer West County sides, as well as those in St. Charles, but the Metro Catholic Conference still remained dominant.
Chaminade enjoyed many successes under Coach Finke as he was soon joined behind the bench by former teammate Andre Biewend ‘83 as well as one of Finke’s former Captains and Red Devil standout Matt Hrubes ’91. Chaminade College Prep was now attracting much of the top hockey talent in the St. Louis area and made it back the Frozen Four seven years in a row from the 1995-96 season to 2001-02 season and its first ever appearance in the State Championship game in 2001 vs. Long time rival DeSmet (3-2 loss in 2 OT’s).
Following the 2001-02 season, Coach Finke stepped down from actively coaching the program he helped build and in came former St. Louis Junior Blues and St. Louis AAA Blues coach Matt Buha whom both of his assistants (Gus Jacoby ’90 and Matt Hrubes ’91) played for while also playing at Chaminade. This run lasted another prosperous six years with Buha’s last season ending with another State Championship appearance against the CBC Cadets. Coach Buha stepped down the following summer.
With the encouragement of the Alumni and former coaches Matt Buha and Mark Finke, it was now time for long time assistant coach and Chaminade Alumni Matt Hrubes ‘91 to take over the program in which he loved. Joining him on the bench would be his right hand man and former teammate Gus Jacoby ’90, long time friend and two-time Mid States Champion Brent Wiley and one of Hrubes’ first players he coached, former Captain Chris “Petes” Peterson ’99. This group helped guide the Red Devils to a back to back State Championship appearance after defeating long time rival SLUH in one of the best hockey atmospheres High School Hockey has ever seen in the St. Louis area.
The new millennium presented Chaminade with a large set of opportunities: the Chaminade hockey scene was booming, with players such as the Stastny brothers Paul
(Colorado Avalanche) and Yan
(Boston Bruins/ Edmonton Oilers/St. Louis Blues,/Vancouver Canucks), defenseman Chris Butler (Buffalo Sabers/Calgary Flames), The Dunlop Brothers Connor and Cole, goaltender Ben Bishop
(St. Louis Blues), the Wideman brothers Chris (Ottawa Senators)and Alex, defenseman Neil Komodaski (Ottawa Senators), power forward Danny McNabb, forward Jordy Federko, defenseman Joey Lordo, and Chaminade’s all-time leading scorer Brett Gensler honing their elite skills on this high school hockey team. With the assistance of then Chaminade Hockey Board President Frederik “Fritz” Clifford, the league had signed a television contract with local cable provider Charter Communications
(via its CCIN
channel), allowing both league and playoff games, including Finals, to be seen in homes around the area and has since signed on with Fox Sports Midwest. Two new post-season competitions were introduced, the Doug Wickenheiser
Memorial Cup and Founders Cup, both for teams that finished lower on the league ladder.