CALGARY, AB -- Sudbury, ON will play host to the 20th version of the Air Canada Cup, the National Midget championship, from April 21-26, with the gold medal final game being televised nationally on TSN and RDS, its Quebec counterpart.
Les Riverains du College Charles-Lemoyne is the only team returning from the 1997 championship, after winning the Quebec Regional championship. They join the Sudbury Cara's Nickel Capitals, the host club, the Don Mills Flyers, representing the Central region, the Calgary Buffaloes, who won the Pacific Region, the Saskatoon Contacts, Western Regional champions, and the Saint John Flames, who won the Atlantic Region.
The teams will play round-robin games on April 21-24 with the top four teams qualifying for the playoff round. The crossover games (first against fourth, second against third) will be held on April 25, with the Bronze- and Gold-medal games scheduled for April 26.
The Gold-medal final will be played at 8 pm EDT on Sunday, April 26. All games will be played at the Sudbury Arena.
"The organizing committee has done extraordinary work preparing for this tournament, which has helped launch the hockey careers of countless Canadian boys," said Russ Farnell, the tournament co-chair, along with Oscar Clouthier. "Sudbury is a hockey-mad city and we're excited and proud to have the opportunity to play host to a tournament that has become a fixture on the Canadian hockey calendar."
Don Brown, the Canadian Hockey Association's representative at the championship, noted the key contribution made by Air Canada, one of the CHA's premier sponsors, which has lent its enthusiastic support to the championship for two decades.
"Air Canada not only sponsors one of the great championships in Canadian Hockey, it sponsors the five regional tournaments that produce the finalists for the Air Canada Cup," Brown said. The airline's involvement is reflected, in part, by an impressive lineup of awards distributed to deserving players during the tournament.
At the conclusion of the championship final game, the presentation of the Air Canada Cup Trophy will be made on-ice to the captain of the victorious team, with each member of the championship squad receiving an Air Canada Cup gold medal. The Air Canada Cup runner-up club members will each receive Air Canada silver medallions.
The individuals selected as the Player-of-the-Game from each team after every game in the tournament receive Player-of-the-Game medallions. Those chosen for the Player-of-the-Game awards in the championship final will receive Esquire watches, in addition to the individual award medallions.
Based on their individual performances during the four-day round-robin section of the 1998 Air Canada Cup, six individual player awards will be presented.
The player judged by an independent panel as the outstanding performer will receive the Air Canada Cup Most Valuable Player Trophy. He will also receive from Air Canada a $1,000 college scholarship for future use at an institution of higher learning of his choice. Completing his MVP award package will be an ITECH equipment bag, a golf shirt and a jacket, compliments of ITECH Sports Products Inc.
The other individual awards include the Air Canada Cup top scorer, best goaltender, most outstanding forward, best defenceman and most sportsmanlike player. Each player will receive an 1998 Air Canada Cup Trophy for their accomplishments.
One player at the Air Canada Cup will receive a $1,000 Esso Kids Scholarship Award. Selections will be made with input from coaches, team and championship organizers and educators, with the major consideration being academic excellence.
"Air Canada has been and continues to be proud of its involvement with the Air Canada Cup, which showcases some of the best 17-year-old hockey talent in our country year after year," said Denis Vandal, Manager of Commercial Sponsorship and Merchandising. "We look forward to this event every year, but this year is special, since it's the 20th Anniversary.
"We know the people of Sudbury will help make this an especially successful championship."