BATHURST, NB - Bathurst, NB will play host to the 24th edition of the Air Canada Cup, Canada's National Midget Hockey Championship, from April 22-28, 2002.
Six teams will be taking part in this year's tournament, one host team and five regional teams (Atlantic, Quebec, Central, West, Pacific). In last year's championship, les Gouverneurs de Ste-Foy (Quebec Region) defeated the Calgary Royals (Pacific Region) 4-3 in double overtime to capture the prestigious Air Canada Cup.
The National Midget Hockey Championship was last held in New Brunswick in 1986, when the Moncton Flyers played host. The Notre Dame College Hounds (West Region) defeated the Toronto Red Wings (Central Region) in the Gold medal game to claim the championship. The championship also showcased future Olympian and NHL star Joe Sakic, who was a member of the Burnaby Hawks.
New Brunswick natives that have played in this event in previous years include Andrew McKim (1986 - Moncton Flyers), Roland Melanson (1977 - Moncton) and Don Sweeny (Saint John - 1983). New Brunswick native Scott Pellerin is the only player to have played in two Air Canada Cups, representing two different provinces (regions). In 1986 Pellerin played with the host Moncton Flyers and in 1987, Pellerin played for Notre Dame (Wilcox, SK) in the event hosted in Thunder Bay, ON.
"We're very happy to be hosting the Air Canada Cup this year in New Brunswick," said Howard Peters, president of the New Brunswick Amateur Hockey Association. "We are honored to be hosting players from across Canada and know that they will enjoy their time in Northern New Brunswick."
"The community of Bathurst and the Chaleur Region are thrilled to be less than two months away from hosting the Air Canada Cup," said Hollis Chamberlain, co-chair of the 2002 Host Committee. "Ticket sales have been good and as the tournament draws closer, we know that hockey fans from far and wide will make plans to join us for some high calibre hockey."
The teams will play round-robin games from April 22-28 with the top four teams qualifying for the playoff round. The semi-finals (first against fourth, second against third) will be held on April 27th, with the Bronze and Gold medal games scheduled for April 28th. All games will be played at the KC Irving Centre in Bathurst, NB.
The six teams will be wearing jerseys and socks courtesy of Bauer NIKE Hockey, while all helmets, facial protection and neck protectors are provided by ITECH.
Josee Leduc, Manager of Commercial Sponsorships and Event Marketing for Air Canada states "Air Canada, hockey's first and foremost fan for over 25 years, would like to thank the organizers and the volunteers who have devoted time and considerable energy over the years to make this one of the most prestigious tournaments in its category."
Participating teams will be determined over the next month during regional playdowns. Four of the five regional playdowns will be held during the weekend of April 4-7: the Atlantic Regional Playdown, in Kensington, PEI, the Central Regional Playdown in Timmins, ON, the Pacific Regional Playdown in Yellowknife, NT and the Western Regional Playdown in Steinbach, MB. The Quebec Midget AAA League determines the Quebec Region representative.
The gold medal game will be televised nationally on TSN and their French affiliate RDS at 1:00 pm local time (12:00pm Eastern Time) on Sunday, April 28.
For all 2002 Air Canada Cup ticket inquiries, call (506) 549-3333.