After 64 days and 427 games, the Road to the TELUS Cup came to an end
The Toronto Young Nationals (Central) and Notre Dame Hounds (West) claimed
the final two berths; they will join the Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves
(Host), Moncton Flyers (Atlantic), Cantonniers de Magog (Quebec) and
Lethbridge Hurricanes (Pacific) at Canada’s National Midget Championship.
Here’s a quick look at the six teams who will compete for a national title
beginning April 23.
HOST TEAM – SUDBURY NICKEL CAPITAL WOLVES
The hosts are ready to welcome the nation to northern Ontario. Sudbury came
up one point short of North Bay in the regular season despite 31 wins in 36
games, but had the Trappers’ number when it counted most, taking the
best-of-five GNML championship in five games. The Wolves were edged out of
a semifinal spot at the Central Regional, but gained experience that will
serve them well at the TELUS Cup.
This year marks 20 years since Sudbury last hosted Canada’s National Midget
Championship, and 10 years since the Wolves were crowned national champions
in Arnprior, Ont., becoming the first Central Region team to hoist the
ATLANTIC REGION – MONCTON FLYERS
The Flyers are headed back to the TELUS Cup for the third time in 10 years
after an almost-perfect run through the playoffs. Moncton claimed the
regular-season title in the NBPEIMMHL before sweeping aside Fredericton and
Saint John to claim the New Brunswick championship. It started Atlantics
with a 7-0 loss to St. John’s, but that would be the lone blemish, and the
Flyers earned the regional crown with a double-overtime win over Dartmouth.
Moncton will make an eighth all-time appearance at the national
championship, and its most successful trip was its first – the Flyers
finished fourth when they hosted the 1977 tournament, but have yet to
return to the medal round.
CENTRAL REGION – TORONTO YOUNG NATIONALS
It wasn’t always easy, but the Young Nationals are back at the TELUS Cup.
The 2015 national champions topped the GTHL in the regular season, and went
undefeated in their first 13 playoff games en route to a league title. The
Central Regional was a rollercoaster; Toronto went 2-3 in the prelims and
needed a late power-play goal to edge unbeaten Rockland in the semifinals
before scoring four first-period goals to earn a comfortable win over
Ajax-Pickering in the regional final.
It’s the third appearance in five years for the Young Nationals, who
finished fourth in 2014 before winning the title a year later. They’re also
the fifth-consecutive GTHL team to reach the TELUS Cup – the league has two
gold medals and a bronze in the last three years.
PACIFIC REGION – LETHBRIDGE HURRICANES
From worst to first, the Hurricanes will appear at their first-ever TELUS
Cup. Lethbridge improved from seven wins to 24 and finished No. 1 in the
AMHL in the regular season, before erasing a 2-1 deficit to top Edmonton
KoC in five games and claim its first league championship. The Hurricanes
booked their ticket to Sudbury with a two-game sweep of Fraser Valley in
the Pacific Regional, going on the road and outscoring the Thunderbirds
It’s the fourth time in five years the Pacific champion has been a
first-time participant at the national championship, following Okanagan
(2014), Strathmore (2015) and Lloydminster (2016). The region hasn’t won a
medal since 2014 – its longest-such streak since the six-team format began
QUEBEC REGION – CANTONNIERS DE MAGOG
The Cantonniers turned a strong regular season into a playoff championship,
earning the Quebec berth at the TELUS Cup for the first time in 18 years,
and just the second time ever. The top-ranked and highest-scoring team
during the regular season, Magog had only one hiccup in the playoffs,
surviving a back-and-forth seven-game series to eliminate Châteauguay in
the semifinals before sweeping away Trois-Rivières in four straight to
claim the LHMAAAQ title.
The last game the Cantonniers played at Canada’s National Midget
Championship was a 6-0 victory over Collège Français de Montréal-Bourassa
to win the national title in 2000. (They also hosted in 1995.)
Surprisingly, Quebec teams have won just one gold medal since – Ste-Foy in
WEST REGION – NOTRE DAME HOUNDS
No team comes to the TELUS Cup hotter than the Hounds, who have won all 13
of their playoff games and have dropped just three of 33 in total since the
calendar turned to 2018. Notre Dame was the class of the SMAAAHL in the
regular season before sweeping the Saskatoon Blazers, Swift Current and
Prince Albert to claim the playoff title. They were perfect at the West
Regional, capped by a win over the Winnipeg Wild to clinch a spot in
The Hounds are one of the most successful teams ever on the national stage,
claiming a record-tying four Canadian titles (1980, 1986, 2009, 2010) in 10
appearances. They also carry a 15-game unbeaten streak at the TELUS Cup,
second-longest ever (Prince Albert has gone 21 straight without a loss).