SELKIRK, Man. – For the 31st time, Canada’s top Midget teams have gathered, this year in Selkirk, Man., to do battle for the National Midget Championship, beginning Monday, April 20. This year marks just the third time Manitoba has hosted the tournament, joining Brandon in 1994 and the inaugural championship in 1979 in Winnipeg.
Host team, the Winnipeg Thrashers, are joined by regional champions Calgary Buffaloes (Pacific), Notre Dame Hounds (West), Hamilton Reps (Central), Rousseau Sports de Laval-Bourassa (Quebec) and Moncton Flyers (Atlantic). The six competing teams will take to the ice at the Selkirk Recreation Complex hoping to earn one of the two berths in Sunday’s nationally-televised gold medal game.
The Thrashers and Buffaloes are both returning to the National Midget Championship after taking part in the 2008 tournament in Arnprior, Ont., while the Hounds are making their ninth appearance, which moves them into a tie for second in tournament history.
"The host committee and all of the volunteers have worked tirelessly to make sure this year's TELUS Cup is a memorable one for everyone involved," said Rob Cox, chair of the host committee. "The future of Canadian hockey will be on display in Selkirk, and we cannot wait for the first puck to drop."
The gold medal game on Sunday, April 26 will be broadcast live on TSN2 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT. It will be shown on tape delay on the main TSN network at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT. Check your local listings for the broadcast time in your area.
Athletes at the 2009 TELUS Cup will be competing not only for a national championship, but also to raise funds for local minor hockey. Over the course of the 19-game tournament, TELUS will donate $100 for every goal scored, up to $5,000, to the Lord Selkirk and Winnipeg minor hockey associations. This program will encourage teams to give it their all while giving back to the community.
"The TELUS philosophy is to give where we live and we are glad to give a boost to the athletes in the Lord Selkirk and Winnipeg minor hockey associations," said Steve Podborski, TELUS director of community sports. "On behalf of TELUS, we would like to wish everyone, from the athletes to the many volunteers taking part in this great event, the best of luck."
A number of future NHLers have taken part in the National Midget Championship since its inception in 1979, including many who are currently taking part in the Stanley Cup playoffs:
Steve Bernier – 2001, Gouverneurs de Ste-Foy (VAN)
Daniel Briere – 1994, Intrepide de Gatineau (PHI)
Ryane Clowe – 2001, St. John’s Maple Leafs (SJ)
Sidney Crosby – 2002, Dartmouth Subways (PIT)
Simon Gagné – 1996, Gouverneurs de Ste-Foy (PHI)
Kristopher Letang – 2003, Gaulois du Collège Antoine-Girouard (PIT)
Joffrey Lupul – 2000, Fort Saskatchewan Rangers (PHI)
Chris Mason – 1994, Red Deer Optimist Chiefs (NSH)
Brad Stuart – 1996, Red Deer Optimist Chiefs (DET)