The Windsor Spitfires are a major junior hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). They are named after the Royal Canadian Air Force No. 417 Squadron, also known as the “City of Windsor” squadron, which flew Spitfire fighter airplanes during the Second World War.
The original incarnation of Windsor Spitfires hockey club played in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1945 to 1953, at which point the team folded. In 1971, the Windsor Spitfires formed a hockey club once again, this time in the Southern Ontario Junior A Hockey League. Four years later, the Spitfires became an expansion team in the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League (OMJHL), which later became known as the OHL. Before the opening of the WFCU Centre in 2008, the Spitfires played their home games at Windsor Arena, affectionately nicknamed “The Barn” by their fans. Windsor Arena was built in 1924 and served as home ice for the Spitfires for 84 years.
The Spitfires have won three Memorial Cups (the championship trophy of the OHL): in 2009, 2010, and 2017. The victory in 2017 was particularly sweet since the Spitfires served as the host of the Memorial Cup which took place from May 18 to 28. The Spitfires defeated the Erie Otters on May 28 by a score of 4-3, clinching the championship on home ice.
The Windsor Spitfires have developed many top tier hockey players throughout the years, with many eventually playing in the National Hockey League (NHL). These include locally-grown players, Ed Jovanovski and Joel Quenneville, and other famed NHLers like Adam Graves, Steve Ott, and Taylor Hall.
The Windsor Spitfires also run a charitable foundation that helps give back to the community. Since its establishment in 2006, the Windsor Spitfires Foundation has donated more than $500,000 to various local charities using the motto “Enhancing Lives, Improving Our Community” as a guiding principle.
In May of 2019, the Windsor Spitfires underwent a restructuring. At that time, brothers John and Stephen Savage, and their business partner Brian Schwab, (co-owners of the Cypher Systems Group – CGS) purchased a primary stake in the organization. They, along with former Spitfires head coach, Bob Boughner, are the current owners of the Windsor Spitfires hockey club.
Photograph: 2017 Windsor Spitfires, Memorial Cup Victory, from windsorspitfires.com/championships