Biggest prize in major junior hockey once again up for grabs as Memorial Cup returns

After a three-year wait, the largest prize in main junior hockey is as soon as once more up for grabs.

The host Saint John Sea Canines entertain league champions from Edmonton, Hamilton and Shawinigan, Que., within the 2022 Memorial Cup starting Monday and ending when a brand new winner is topped June 29.

The final two Memorial Cup tournaments had been scrapped on account of COVID-19 restrictions. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies final captured the championship in Could 2019 on the Scotiabank Centre in RisePEI.

“Nobody foresaw what COVID would convey us, however it’s simply nice to be again and heading towards a little bit of a standard execution of the Memorial Cup,” mentioned Canadian Hockey League president Dan MacKenzie.

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Memorial Cup – What to anticipate on and off the ice as Saint John set to host

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The Sea Canines open the spherical robin Monday after they host the Ontario Hockey League champion Hamilton Bulldogs.

The Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings and the Shawinigan Cataractes, Quebec Main Junior Hockey League champions for the primary time, are the opposite groups.

Edmonton’s deep roster options 4 first-round NHL draft picks who skated with Canada’s world junior crew, together with the WHL playoffs most beneficial participant Kaiden Guhle, He was Montreal’s prime decide, sixteenth total, within the 2020 draft.

Guhle, Edmonton captain Jake Neighbours (taken twenty sixth total by St. Louis in 2020), ahead Dylan Guenther (Arizona’s ninth-overall decide in 2021) and goaltender Sebastian Cossa (Detroit’s first choice, fifteenth total, in 2021) helped raise the Oil Kings to a 50-14-4 mark through the common season.

The Oil Kings, No. 2 within the CHL’s ultimate year-end rankings, claimed the WHL title with wins over Lethbridge, Purple Deer, top-ranked Winnipeg and Seattle. They return to the Memorial Cup for the primary time since profitable it in 2014.

“We’re very lucky to have the kind of crew we have now,” mentioned Edmonton coach Brad Lauer. “However that doesn’t imply we’re going to win. We now have to exit and play our sport. Our guys perceive that. They know nobody goes to offer it us.”

Click to play video: 'Major Junior Hockey’s “Holy Grail”, the “Memorial Cup” is in Kingston , the place of it’s birth for a couple of days.'

Main Junior Hockey’s “Holy Grail”, the “Memorial Cup” is in Kingston , the place of it’s beginning for a few days.

Main Junior Hockey’s “Holy Grail”, the “Memorial Cup” is in Kingston , the place of it’s beginning for a few days – Could 31, 2022

After Neighbours returned from a nine-game stint with the Blues early within the season, the Oil Kings acquired Guhle from Prince Albert to bolster the lineup.

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“The final two years have been very tough on the children and to have the ability to play for a championship, I do know our guys had been very excited,” Lauer mentioned. “Simply to see their faces after they did it — as a coach, it was an amazing feeling.”

Shawinigan went 40-24-4 within the common season after which defeated Rouyn-Noranda, Gatineau, Quebec and Charlottetown for franchise’s first league title.

Shawinigan clinched the championship on ahead Pierrick Dube’s winner 41 seconds into further time in Recreation 5, which was the crew’s QMJHL-record seventh extra time victory of the playoffs.

“For the gamers, the workers and the group, it was a dream of a lifetime,” mentioned Shawinigan head coach Daniel Renaud.

“There are not any phrases that may categorical how pleased we’re as a crew. It was superb. Followers have been ready for this for the final 53 years and it was the primary time we obtained to win the President Cup. It was a really particular second.”

QMJHL playoff MVP Mavrik Bourque, a first-round Dallas decide in 2020, recorded 68 factors in 31 regular-season video games.

Teammate Xavier Bourgault, the Edmonton Oilers prime choice in 2021, added 75 factors in simply 43 contests. The duo, each additionally members of the nationwide junior crew, mixed for 44 playoff factors.

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The Bulldogs, ranked No. 3 by the CHL, outlasted the Windsor Spitfires in a basic seven-game OHL ultimate.

Mason McTavish, Anaheim’s prime decide at third total in 2021, is one other veteran of Canada’s world junior crew together with Neighbours, Guhle, Cossa, Guenther, Bourque and Bourgault.

McTavish was additionally the youngest participant on Canada’s Olympic hockey crew in Beijing in February.

Teammate Logan Morrison earned the OHL playoff MVP award with 39 factors to again his 100-point season. Bulldogs defenceman Nathan Staios was the OHL’s prime blueliner.

He’s the son of basic supervisor Steve Staois, who’s a veteran of 1,001 NHL video games, predominantly with Edmonton.

“It positively makes it extra particular _ with all of the COVID stuff, with all the house exercises and clearly you don’t have all of the motivation on a regular basis however we knew someday it could be value it and that’s this sport proper right here,” Morrison mentioned after profitable the OHL crown Wednesday.

McTavish joined the crew in an early-season take care of Peterborough.

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He recorded 40 common season factors in 24 video games with the Bulldogs earlier than including one other 29 in 19 playoff contests.

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“After I obtained right here, I knew there was one thing particular happening right here,” McTavish informed reporters after the Recreation 7 triumph Wednesday.

“I used to be in a position to slot in immediately.”

The host Sea Canines had been sidelined in a shocking first-round playoff loss to Rimouski after a 47-17-4 common season led them to 3rd place total.

Saint John fired head coach Gordie Dwyer a month out from the Memorial Cup and changed him with Gardiner MacDougall, on go away from his position as head coach of the College of New Brunswick males’s hockey program.

Underneath his steering, UNB has received seven College Cup titles since 2007.

New York Islanders prospect William Dufour was named the QMJHL’s most beneficial participant after main the Canadian Hockey League with 56 objectives.

The 20-year-old from Quebec Metropolis feels he and his teammates have achieved their greatest to adapt to the sudden teaching change.

“I can’t say it was simple to show the web page,” Dufour mentioned. “It was powerful for us however like our coach mentioned, typically you need to go down slightly bit earlier than you may go ahead. I simply can’t wait to play that first sport.”

Saint John basic supervisor Trevor Georgie engineered six offers on the commerce deadline.

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He acquired Ottawa prospect Philippe Daoust, Pittsburgh prospect Raivis Kristians Ansons and a pair of gamers from the 2021 QMJHL champion Victoriaville Tigres: defenceman Vincent Sevigny and goaltender Nikolas Hurtubise.

They joined a lineup that features Calgary Flames prospects Yan Kuznetsov and Jeremie Poirier and Toronto draft decide William Villeneuve on the blue-line.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed June 19, 2022.

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