John Joseph Prigione

Portrait by Robert Howson

A lifelong resident of Guelph, John Prigione hadn’t really intended on getting into the hockey business, but in 1963 he joined with other local business people to fill, what he felt, was a huge void in the community. In 1960, the New York Rangers had moved Guelph’s Junior ‘A’ franchise so the Royal City was left with Minor Hockey and no more. So Prigione helped organize a Senior ‘A’ team (the Guelph Regals) which won the Ontario Championship in 1965-66. However, Senior hockey never really caught on with the junior-oriented hockey fans of Guelph and the team disbanded at the end of the 1968 season.

For the next two years, Prigione operated a Junior ‘B’ in Guelph at the same time that an independent Junior ‘A’ team was playing in the Western Ontario Junior Hockey League. When
that league folded and the CAHA spawned a new tier two Junior ‘A’ division, Prigione was ready to move up another notch on the hockey ladder.

The Guelph CMCs were born in 1970 and in their first year they came within a goal of winning the championship losing to Detroit in seven games in a thrilling final. The next year they weren’t to be denied winning the Centennial Cup, emblematic of the Canadian Tier II championship.

Prigione, who also started a Junior ‘C’ team so Guelph boys would have a place to play once they graduated from midget hockey, was known for doing everything ‘first class’. He loved his players and his community, giving his heart and soul to ensure that Guelph hockey fans didn’t miss out.

Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame April 29, 1996