The 1890–91 season saw the club play 14 games, playing in three leagues.
Ottawa HC was a founding member of two new leagues, the Ottawa City Hockey League (OCHL) and the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and also rejoined the AHAC.
On December 8, 1886, the first championship league, the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada was founded in Montreal.
One of the principal organizers in the restarting of the team was Ottawa Journal publisher P. Green, William O'Dell, Tom Gallagher, Albert Low and Henry Ami.
In November 1889, the Ottawa Amateur Athletic Club (OAAC) was opened at the corner of today's Elgin and Laurier Streets on the site of today's Lord Elgin Hotel.
The only activities that winter were practices at the "Royal Rink" starting on March 5, 1883. Ottawa earned its first-ever victory at the tournament over the Montreal Victorias, but lost its final match to the Montreal Hockey Club (Montreal HC) to place second in the tournament.
The 1886 Montreal tournament was cancelled due to an outbreak of smallpox and the club would not play an outside match again until 1887.
Ottawa HC won the Ottawa and Ontario championships, and two games against AHAC opponents, but lost to the AHAC champion Montreal HC in its one challenge for the championship. Seated: Jim Smellie, Alf Smith, Harvey Pulford, Weldy Young, Joe Mc Dougall. Russell Ottawa HC did not win a game in its return to AHAC challenge play in 1890–91, but in the next season of AHAC play in 1891–92 the club won the league championship, and held it for most of the season, from January 10 until March 7, 1892.
The 1891 championship was the only OHA final played in Ottawa, as Ottawa played the 1892 final in Toronto, defeating Osgoode Hall 4–2, and in 1893 the Toronto Granites defaulted by not appearing for the championship match scheduled for Ottawa. The club took the championship from Montreal HC, who were previously undefeated, and won five straight games before Montreal won the championship back by a 1–0 score in the last challenge of the season.When the club began outside competition again in 1889–90, it was with new sweaters of white with black stripes and the OAAA red "triskelion" logo.In the 1889–90 season, Ottawa HC played two competitive games but this was to increase greatly the next season.A playoff was arranged in Montreal for the championship between Ottawa, Montreal HC and Montreal Victorias (the other first place club, Quebec, having dropped out of the playoff).These games would be the first Stanley Cup playoff games ever played.In 1950, Canadian sports editors selected the Ottawa HC/Senators as Canada's greatest team in the first half of the 20th century.