KENORA, ON – Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that the City of Kenora, ON, has been awarded the 2004 National Midget Hockey Championship, from April 19-25, 2004 at the Kenora Recreation Centre.
The National Midget Hockey Championship, formerly known as the Air Canada Cup, will be celebrating its 30th year and is the only officially recognized national championship for minor hockey in Canada.
The National Midget Hockey Championship has been held in Ontario on seven previous occasions. The event has been held in Sault Ste. Marie (2003), Sudbury (1998), Kitchener (1993), Thunder Bay (1988), Gloucester (1987), North Bay (1984) and Cornwall (1980). The North Bay Pine Hill team in 1984 is the only Ontario host team to win the National Midget Hockey Championship and only the third Ontario team to capture the gold.
" The National Midget Hockey Championship allows top players and teams to compete from across the five regions of the country," said Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada. "This event has consistently highlighted young talent and has proven itself to be a stepping stone to higher levels of competition."
Current and former NHL stars who have taken part in this annual event over the years include: Brad Stuart (1997), Simon Gagné (1997), Derek Morris (1995), Mike Peca (1990), Olaf Kolzig (1987), Rod Brind'amour (1986-87), Joe Sakic (1986), Wendel Clark (1982), Steve Yzerman (1980), Ron Francis (1980), Ron Hextall, (1980), and Al MacInnis (1979). Current NHL coach Ken Hitchcock participated in the event as a coach in the 19 seasons.
" Hockey Northwestern Ontario is pleased to be awarded the hosting rights to the 2004 National Midget Hockey Championship," said Sharon McMahon, President of Hockey Northwestern Ontario. "Congratulations to the City of Kenora and the members of the host committee, and we look forward to welcoming all of the teams to this prestigious event in April."
" On behalf of the Kenora Host Committee and Lake of the Woods Minor Hockey Association it is an honor for us to have been chosen as host of this prestigious event," said Judy Bain, Chair of the 2004 Kenora Host Committee. "We are very fortunate in this community to be so rich in volunteers and even more fortunate to have a community that will support this championship."
A pool of six teams, which includes the 5 regional midget AAA champions (Atlantic, Quebec, Central, Western, Pacific) and the host team, the Kenora Stars, will participate in this year’s championship.
The tournament opens with a round-robin round with the top four teams qualifying for the playoff round. This is followed by two crossover games (first against fourth, second against third) and the Bronze and Gold medal games on the final day. The final game will be broadcast coast to coast on TSN/RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada.
The event is presented by Bauer Nike Hockey, Esso, and RBC Financial Group, premier sponsors of Hockey Canada.