CALGARY, AB - The Powell River Regals returned to Canada late Monday night after claiming 2nd place at the 2001 Nagano Cup.
The Regals won 3-2 in a shootout over Japans National Team on Friday, as Trent Kaese scored the deciding goal, while goaltender Chad Vizutti stopped all three shots he faced. Mike Sullivan and Jim Inkster also scored as the 2000 Allan Cup Champs defeated Japan, a team which will be participating in the IIHF World Hockey Championship in May, 2001.
Canada suffered a 6-5 setback at the hands of Polands National Team in their second game on Saturday. Scott Mastrodonato, Kaese, Mark Kaufman, Jeff Barszczewski and Mike Hassman scored for Canada.
Poland captured the Nagano Cup with a 5-3 win over Japan on Sunday, giving Canada 2nd place.
The Canadian Hockey Association chose the Powell River Regals to represent Canada at the Nagano Cup for two main reasons: the great winning tradition of the Regals over the past few years, and to give a boost to Senior Hockey and the Allan Cup in Canada. The Regals captured the 2000 Allan Cup with a 4-1 win over the Lloydminster BorderKings in April, 2000.
The Regals lineup was also bolstered by the addition of five Canadians presently playing the Japanese Elite League.
Powell Rivers participation in the 2001 Nagano Cup represents a return to the past for Canada in international hockey competition. It was a long-standing Canadian hockey tradition for many years that the Allan Cup Champions would represent Canada at the World Hockey Championship, which now has NHL players participating.
Past Allan Cup Champions, such as the legendary Trail Smoke Eaters (1939, 1961, 1963), the Toronto Granites (1924), the Winnipeg Monarchs (1932), the Edmonton Mercurys (1950, 1952), the Penticton V's (1955), the Whitby Dunlops (1958) and the Belleville MacFarlands (1959) have led Canada to gold medals at either the IIHF World Hockey Championships or the Winter Olympics.
Canada's National Men's Team, which was once run as a full-time program from 1963--2000, is currently operating on a part-time basis. Canada participated Internationally in five major competitions in Europe during the season: The Deutschland Cup, Spengler Cup, Sweden Games, Nagano Cup and a roster will be assembled for the IIHF Men's World Championship. Using separate rosters for each of these events, rosters made up of Canadians playing in Europe or players otherwise made available, Canada captured the Deutschland Cup, finished 2nd at the Spengler Cup and the Nagano Cup and 3rd at the Sweden Games.