GATINEAU, QC – Hockey Canada announced on Monday that the City of Gatineau, QC, has been awarded the 2005 National Midget Hockey Championship, from April 18-24, 2005 at the Robert-Guertin Arena.
The National Midget Hockey Championship, formerly known as the Air Canada Cup, will be celebrating its 32nd year and is the only officially recognized national championship for minor hockey in Canada.
The National Midget Hockey Championship has been held in Québec on four previous occasions. The event has been held in Montreal (2000), Sherbrooke (1995), Sorel (1990), and Ste-Foy (1983). The Riverains du Richelieu team in 1990 is the only Québec host team to win the National Midget Hockey Championship and one of ten Québec teams to capture the gold.
"The National Midget Hockey Championship allows top players and teams to compete from across the five regions of the country," said Bob Nicholson, President of Hockey Canada. "This event has consistently highlighted young talent and has proven itself to be a stepping stone to higher levels of competition."
Current and former NHL stars who have taken part in this annual event over the years include: Daniel Brière (1994), Simon Gagné (1996), Mike Peca (1990), Stéphane Fiset (1987), Yves Racine (1986), Joe Sakic (1986), Benoit Brunet (1985), Patrick Roy (1982), Steve Yzerman (1980), Ron Francis (1980), and Al MacInnis (1979). Current NHL coach Ken Hitchcock participated in the event as a coach in the 19 seasons.
"Hockey Québec is proud that the next edition of the National Midget Hockey Championship will be held within its jurisdiction," said Sylvain Lalonde, director general of Hockey Québec. "We know that Gatineau and all the volunteers will be up to the challenge next year and that our players will once again showcase their great talent on the ice."
"The Host Committee is very honoured to have been selected to host the 2005 National Midget Championship. As seen in past, the people of the National Capital Region have always shown tremendous support for these exciting events," said Alain Bastarache, Chair of the Host Committee. "We are also very pleased to announce that local hockey icon, Daniel Brière, who participated in this event in 1994, has accepted the honorary presidency for the 2005 championship."
A pool of six teams, which includes the 5 regional midget AAA champions (Atlantic, Québec, Central, Western, Pacific) and the host team, l'Intrépide midget AAA de Gatineau, will participate in this year’s championship.
The tournament opens with a round-robin round with the top four teams qualifying for the playoff round. This is followed by two crossover games (first against fourth, second against third) and the Bronze and Gold medal games on the final day. The final game will be broadcast coast to coast on TSN/RDS, the official broadcaster of Hockey Canada.
Hockey Canada is also excited to announce that ongoing discussions with Telus have resulted in Telus becoming the fourth Premier Sponsor of Hockey Canada. As part of their Premier Sponsor agreement, Telus will become the title sponsor of the National Midget Championship, beginning in 2005. More details and a new logo for the event will be released in the coming months.