CALGARY, AB - The 2002 Allan Cup Champions, Saint-Georges (QC) Garaga, will represent Canada at the 2003 Nagano Cup from February 7-12, 2003 in Nagano, Japan, the Canadian Hockey Association announced on Tuesday.
Canada, represented by the Saint-Georges (QC) Garaga, will be featured at the 2003 Nagano Cup along with Pardubice (CZE), Finland and Japan.
For the past three years, Canada has been represented by the Allan Cup Champions at an international event, recapturing a long-standing tradition of national senior hockey champions representing Canada in international hockey competitions.
Since joining the Quebec Provincial Senior Hockey League (LHSPQ) four years ago, the Garaga have captured two provincial titles and the National Senior Hockey Championship, the Allan Cup in 2002. The National Championship in 2002 marked Quebec's first win in 12 years.
Head coach Richard Vachon's team includes former NHL goaltender André Racicot and 1997 Memorial Cup champion defenceman Jason Groleau (Hull, QMJHL)
The Powell River (BC) Regals captured a silver medal representing Canada at the 2001 Nagano Cup while the Lloydminster BorderKings went 0-2-1 against the 2001 World B Pool Champions, Poland in October 2001, losing the final game 7-6.
Past Allan Cup Champions, such as the legendary Trail Smoke Eaters (1939, 1961, 1963), the Winnipeg Falcons (1920), 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.
The Garaga will be bolstered by the addition of three Canadians playing in the Japanese Elite League for this event. They are former National Men's Team forwards Chris Bright (Calgary, AB) and Mark Kaufman (Vancouver, BC) as well former NHL forward Joel Prpic, of Sudbury, ON.
The players and staff of the Saint-Georges Garaga will be departing Montreal on Wednesday, February 5th on Air Canada flight 111 to Vancouver, enroute to Tokyo, Japan, arriving in Japan on Thursday, February 6th.