The club was organized in 1884. The club would be a founding member of the Montreal-based Amateur Hockey Association of Canada in 1886. The team held the Amateur Hockey Association title from 1888 until 1894.
The Stanley Cup, as it would later be known, was to be presented to the Montreal Hockey Club on May 15, 1893, as its initial champions. At the time, the Montreal Hockey Club was in a dispute with its parent organization, the Montreal Amateur Athletic Association (MAAA). The MAAA was split on whether to accept the trophy. The hockey club, was adamant about refusing the trophy, while other arms of the MAAA accepted. Thus, the trophy was accepted by the MAAA, but with none of the hockey officials of the hockey club present.
Montreal Hockey Club, 1888
Front Row: G.S. Lowe, A.A. Hodgson, J. Virtue, A. Cameron, T.L. Paton
Back Row: W.C. Hodgson, J. Stewart
After accepting the trophy, the hockey club remained adamant about returning the trophy that was presented to them. In the end, the MAAA investigated into why its hockey club wanted to refuse and return the trophy, even though such an action would damage the reputation of the MAAA. It was believed that the people who were in charge of running their team were, in fact, not representative of the team itself, and when the hockey club asked for a loan of $175 in start-up expenses for the 1894 season, it was flatly refused (the first time the MAAA refused anything to the hockey club). Inexplicably, the hockey club reversed its position, and the next few months saw a gradual schism between the MAAA and the club.