Is there any championship magic left over from 1984 in Weyburn’s Colosseum? Dwight McMillan and the RBC Royal Bank Cup host Red Wings sure hope so.
It was 21 years ago when McMillan and the Red Wings claimed their first national Junior A championship. Back then, the trophy was known as the Centennial Cup, and was contested over a best-of-seven series between the East and West champs. Weyburn hosted the series in 1984, and defeated the Orillia Travelways 3-0 in the seventh game in front of over 2,300 screaming fans.
In the years since, McMillan has been no stranger to the championship tournament, leading his charges to the RBC in 1995, 1997, 1998 and 2001. But he’s never brought the trophy back to Weyburn.
If the Red Wings require home ice to take the top prize, then this is their year.
“We’ve got to win tomorrow,” McMillan said Saturday after his team defeated the Hawkesbury (ON) Hawks 4-3 in triple-overtime to make the RBC final. “That’s the win I want most.”
The Red Wings will face the Camrose Kodiaks, who rolled into the championship game with an impressive 8-2 beat-down of the Georgetown Raiders in Saturday’s second semi-final.
When asked what his team needs to do to defeat the Alberta Junior Hockey League champs on Sunday, McMillan replied, “Pray a lot.”
“They play all parts of the game well,” he said.
The Kodiaks are led by Travis Friedley and Mason Raymond, who were named the RBC’s most valuable player and top forward respectively. Raymond, the AJHL’s most valuable player, had two goals and two assists in the semifinal to run his tournament-leading point total to ten (four goals, six assists). Camrose captain Friedley leads all tournament defensemen in scoring with seven points.
Between the pipes, the Kodiaks boast David Thompson, who was named most valuable player of the AJHL playoffs.
The Red Wings counter with Brenden Cuthbert, who was named the tournament’s top goaltender. The Weyburn keeper stopped 47 of 50 shots in the triple-overtime marathon against Hawkesbury.
Three lines share the scoring load in Weyburn’s balanced attack. Colby Nichol, the overtime hero on Saturday, leads the team with four goals.