Celebrating A Century of Memorial Cup in Regina
Combine the cross-Canadian appeal of the football’s Grey Cup with the Canadian love for hockey, and throw in a hearty dose of appreciation for Canadian military history, and you have one very Canadian combination. Consider that this combination exists in trophy form, and that said trophy has been hoisted 99 times by Canada’s junior hockey champions, and place the hundredth edition of the storied tournament in the heartland of the country, and you have one epic occasion to celebrate a century of junior hockey in the country.
Indeed, Canada’s hockey heart is beating in Regina, Saskatchewan, right now as the 100th Memorial Cup is being contested by four of the top clubs from coast to coast. The storied Regina Pats are hosts of this edition of the tournament, which is a champions’ league of the winners from the three junior leagues in the country; the LHJMQ in Quebec and the Maritimes, the OHL in Ontario, and the WHL in Western Canada. In addition to the three league winners, the host Regina Pats make their record sixteenth Memorial Cup appearance since their founding in 1917; the Pats appeared in the inaugural Cup tournament one hundred years ago!
The 2018 MasterCard Memorial Cup is being played now at Brandt Centre, but celebrations are taking place throughout Regina and the entire province of Saskatchewan, with social and community events alongside expositions and the hockey itself.
On-ice, the storylines are intriguing; parity in the tournament has meant the results are anyone’s guess with no clear favourite or underdog. The matchups are interesting; Ontario champions Hamilton look to add their first Memorial Cup, after achieving success in other levels of hockey. They upset the heavily-favoured Sault Ste Marie in the Ontario finals, to capture the win in front of their home fans. The host Pats come into the tournament looking to build on past successes and win at home.
The other fascinating story revolves around small cities; the LHJMQ champs Acadie-Bathurst play in junior hockey’s smallest market, while the WHL champs Swift Current play in the second-smallest. For both teams to be here, smaller cities throughout the country can take heart in their chances for CHL glory. Swift Current, in particular, makes for a fan favourite, with thousands of fans making the short three-hour drive to Regina, their Saskatchewan hockey rivals.
As the championship heats up toward its final on May 27th, it makes for incredible viewing, and an even better trip for any fan of the game. Head to Regina and become a part of centennial hockey celebrations, or just follow along with the tournament to watch some fantastic sporting action. Either way, you will be witnessing hockey history in the making!
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