HALIFAX (Nova Scotia) - Celebrating the event's 19th anniversary, Canadian Hockey is pleased to announce that the most prestigious annual minor hockey, the Air Canada Cup National Midget Hockey Championship, will be held in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, in April 1997.
Canadian Hockey's Air Canada Cup Championship will again showcase some of this country's most outstanding midget-aged (16 and 17-year olds) players, many who have graduated to play in the National Hockey League.
Hosted by the Weeks AAA Midgets Hockey Association and presented by Canadian Hockey, the Nova Scotia Hockey Association, Air Canada, Imperial Oil and Royal Bank, all games in the championship will be played at the New Glasgow Stadium.
"Canadian Hockey is confident that this next year's championship will once again provide the top calibre competition with which the Air Canada Cup has become synonymous for," said Frank Lento, Canadian Hockey chairman from Fernie, B.C. "New Glasgow is a great hockey community and we sincerely believe that the 1997 Air Canada Cup will again receive strong support from this area's many hockey fans.
"Also, Canadian Hockey extends its thanks to the great corporate sponsors in Air Canada and Imperial Oil. Without their support there would not be an ongoing national midget hockey championship of this prestigious stature."
The Air Canada Cup features the five regional champions and the host team playing in a single round-robin series during the first four days of competition. At the conclusion of the 15-game preliminary round, the teams finishing first thru fourth will meet in two sudden-victory, semi-final match-ups.
The semi-final victors will meet in the 1997 Air Canada Cup National Midget Hockey Championship final to be broadcast on both The Sports Network (TSN) and Le Réseau des sports (RDS). The bronze medal game will be played prior to the final.
Before the national competition, the five regional representatives to the Air Canada Cup will be declared under the auspices of the national body. Canadian Hockey's 12 branch champions from coast-to-coast will compete in five Air Canada Cup regional play-downs.
Competing for the Pacific Region title will be teams from the B.C. Amateur Hockey Association and Hockey Alberta. Battling for the Western Region crown will be clubs from the Saskatchewan Amateur Hockey Association, the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association and Hockey Manitoba.
In Eastern Canada, the Central Region laurels will belong to a team from either the Ontario Hockey Federation or the Ottawa District Hockey Association, the Quebec Ice Hockey Federation will be represented by the champion of its provincial midget AAA championship, and challenging for the Atlantic Canada crown will be squads representing the New Brunswick Amateur Hockey Association, the Nova Scotia Hockey Association, the Prince Edward Island Hockey Association, and the Newfoundland Amateur Hockey Association.
Rounding-out the six-team championship is the host team from New Glasgow - the Weeks AAA Midgets Hockey Club.
The defending Air Canada Cup champions are the Sainte-Foy Gouverneurs of Quebec.The Gouverneurs defeated the Thunder Bay Kings 6-4 in the 1996 final. The Saint-Foy Gouverneurs of Quebec were also the inaugural Air Canada Cup title holders in 1979.