BRAMPTON, ON.--The clock is rapidly ticking down to the evening of Saturday, May 6th, when the host team, the Streetsville Derbys take to the ice at Brampton’s Powerade Centre in the opening game of the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup, Canada’s annual national championship for junior A hockey clubs.
This year, the prestigious RBC Royal Bank Cup will showcase the Derbys against the top four clubs from across Canada representing the Pacific, West, Central and East Regions. All four regional representatives will have battled through league and regional playoffs for the right to compete for Canadian supremacy in the junior A hockey ranks.
The RBC Royal Bank Cup runs for nine days, Saturday, May 6th through Sunday, May 14th, inclusive. Following the conclusion of the six-day, round-robin segment of the competition, the teams finishing first through fourth inclusive will compete in two semi-final games to be played on Saturday, May 13th and the two winners will advance to the championship final on Sunday, May 14th, a match-up to be televised live nationally on TSN.
“The RBC Royal Bank Cup is the final step for these five great hockey teams and it all started last fall with 142 junior A teams all having the same goal – playing for a national championship,” commented Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada. “The Ontario Hockey Federation and the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup Host Organizing Committee have worked very hard to make this a rewarding experience for the players and memorable for the fans. It will be a great nine days of hockey.”
“RBC Financial Group has been a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada since 1995,” said Martin Venema, Regional Vice President RBC Royal Bank, Mississauga Region. “Through this long-time partnership, we at RBC are thrilled to be able to bring Canada’s national junior A championship to the Brampton/Mississauga area. This community is home to some of Canada’s most passionate hockey fans, and we are looking forward to making this RBC Royal Bank Cup the best ever.”
”Derbys’ Head Coach Randy Gumbley is extremely confident that he and his team are more than ready to play against Canada’s best squads. Gumbley noted that his charges and his coaching staff are excited yet anxious to begin play. “Our coaching staff developed a chronological plan from the time our playoffs ended until now in order to get our team mentally and physically ready for the tough competition that lies ahead,” said Gumbley. “From our off-ice ‘boot camp’ approach to conditioning focusing on aerobic workouts to our move to the Powerade Centre for on-ice practices and exhibition games, our players are stronger, more competitive and mentally tough for the competition that awaits them. We have been talking about this event for a long time, but now we can’t wait for the opener on May 6th and the roar of the crowd when we skate onto the ice for the opening ceremonies.”
“This week will showcase the finest Canadian junior hockey has to offer,” said Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell. “We’re thrilled the RBC Royal Bank Cup finals are in Brampton, a city recognized as the home of great teams.”
“Hockey encourages exercise and a healthy lifestyle and it also provides young people with the opportunity to develop teamwork, build friendships and have fun,” said Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion. “I am proud of the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup host team. The Streetsville Derbys make their home in Mississauga. I wish all the players, coaches and visitors the very best for an exciting and enjoyable championship.”
The opening weekend will see the grounds of the Powerade Centre transformed into a carnival atmosphere. RBC is hosting an opening day tailgate party from 4:30 to 7:00 pm prior to the inaugural game complete with a barbeque courtesy of Maple Lodge Farms, midway rides, games of chance and hockey activities sponsored by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Hockey Hall of Fame displays, all compliments of RBC. Peter Gismondi of The Great Canadian Amusement Company explained that the rides were initially brought in for the kids attending the games, but now the area is large enough that it is open to the entire community to enjoy an early Spring Fair.
Another highlight of the championship will be the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup Gala and National Awards Banquet being staged at the event’s host hotel, the Delta Meadowvale Resort and Conference Centre on the evening of Friday, May 12th. Tickets are still available by contacting Natasha Faiola, Banquet Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to recognizing a number of the most outstanding junior A hockey players over the 2005-06 season, the evening’s festivities will include entertainment from comedian and actor, Sean Cullen, as well as a musical cabaret spoof of hockey parents entitled Schtick On Ice. On-air personality Norman Rumack of The FAN 590 Radio will be the master of ceremonies.
On the nights of Saturday, May 6 and May 13, the restaurant of the Powerade Centre will be rocking to the sound of live band Emerald Sky, who will perform after each of these evening games. Fans are encouraged to plan to enjoy a night of great hockey and music as part of the festivities around the 2006 RBC Royal Bank Cup.
Other events associated with the RBC Royal Bank Cup include: the Hockey Canada Skills Development Camp, presented by the Ontario Hockey Federation, the Ontario Hockey Association Coaching Symposium and numerous Hockey Canada Skills Challenge sessions.
Continuing with the tradition of the RBC Royal Bank Cup saluting education as an important factor in the off-ice and overall development of hockey players, students from schools in Brampton and Mississauga will be attending weekday afternoon round-robin games. To show their appreciation to these students who will be cheering on the teams, players from all five of the competing hockey clubs will be visiting a number of local schools to talk to the students about playing hockey and continuing to get a well-rounded education at the same time.
Another local initiative to promote the RBC Royal Bank Cup has been an extensive campaign to garner the support of minor hockey within the Mississauga and Brampton communities. Associations and teams have been offered an incentive to attend weekend games with group tickets being provided at substantially discounted rates.
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