The Kitchener Rangers are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League that have called Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, their home since 1963. The Rangers are a publicly owned hockey team, governed by a 40-person Board of Directors made up of season ticket subscribers. The Rangers hosted the 2008 Memorial Cup tournament. They are also one of the most successful CHL teams in terms of NHL alumni with over 140 players including Mike Richards, Dale Hunter, David Clarkson, Steve Mason, Derek Roy, Steve Downie, 2011 Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner, 2012 Calder Trophy winner Gabriel Landeskog, and Hall of Famers Scott Stevens, Bill Barber, Paul Coffey, Larry Robinson and Al MacInnis.
The roots of the Kitchener Rangers are traced back to the 1947–48 hockey season when the franchise was formed as the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters. In 1960 the "Biltmores" as they were often called became the Guelph Royals. At the end of the 1962–63 season, a local business entrepreneur named Eugene George was approached by the New York Rangers about moving the team to Kitchener in hopes of building a more stable junior environment.
The team moved into the Kitchener Auditorium for the start of the 1963–64 season, which had previously been home to the Kitchener Greenshirts and the Kitchener Canucks. The Rangers were successful promoting the team in the community, drawing high attendance despite a poor first season. By 1968 the Rangers were a first place team that had reached the league finals twice.