US Team Wins Memorial Cup For The Fourth Time And Other News

The Memorial Cup finalizes with the two teams that scored the most points in the regular season competing for the Cup. Only one game of this tournament could be classified as a blowout, and the fans in Saginaw reacted strongly at the box office, selling out pretty much all but one game. Overall, this would be classified as successful.

The Cup featured teams from the WHL, including the Moose Jaw Warriors, the OHL London Knights, the QMJHL Drummondville Voltigeurs, and the host team, Saginaw Spirit. It was the first time a US team had hosted the Cup since 1998.

Saginaw started the tournament by closely defeating Moose Jaw. London started out by shutting out Drummondville. Saginaw then defeated Drummondville in a close battle. London defeated Moose Jaw in another close battle, setting up two teams with two wins and two teams with two losses. Moose Jaw defeated Drummondville, which eliminated the Voltigeurs. In a tough battle the following night, Saginaw defeated London. The Knights had to face Moose Jaw in the semifinal.

Moose Jaw was outclassed in this game, losing 7-1 and ending its shot at the Cup. Two days later, Saginaw would face the favored London Knights for the Cup. In that game, Saginaw scored three straight goals, including a powerplay goal on a check to the head major in the first period. Not to be outdone, London rallied back, scoring three of its own, with the last at the midway point of the third period. Both teams pressed to make their side win.

With 21 seconds left, in a goalmouth scramble, the Saginaw Spirit banged home the winner, becoming only the fourth US team to win the Memorial Cup. Portland Winterhawks won twice in 1983 and 1987, and Spokane Chiefs in 2009. So closes what has been a strong presence for all teams in this year’s Memorial Cup.  The final was 4-3, and the Spirit had a 31 – 13 shots advantage, including London recording just one shot in the first period.

Now begins the dismantling of teams, removing the 20-year-old players and whittling down to just 3 for players turning 20 next season. We’ll talk more in the coming weeks.

The QMJHL has announced a further reduction in games to 64 from the current 68. For the last several years, the Q offered 68 games, while the OHL and WHL had 72. Over the past few years, the OHL and WHL pared down to 68, which is in line with the QMJHL. There is no word on whether the other leagues plan to follow suit. 

In addition, the Q also changed in that players who were 19 and 20 cut from other teams, usually during training camps, can be claimed by different teams. That age is now reduced to 18, making it a more complex process for some teams. It may also look at lowering sizes in camps to protect players from being poached by other teams. “The aim is to give every player as many opportunities as possible to play in the league,” said Commissioner Mario Cecchini.

Commissioner Mario Cecchini stated, “This is a step in the right direction, optimizing player development on and off the ice in school, at games, practice, travel, and rest.” The Assembly of Members passed it unanimously. Some franchises, especially smaller market and community-owned teams, have worried that further reducing the number of games could impact the money created for the scholarship fund.

In Winterhawks news, Luca Cagnoni signed an ELC with San Jose Sharks, and defenseman Josh Mori was traded to the Edmonton Oil Kings for a 3rd round 2025 pick, the first of many changes within the Hawks as they pare down the overage players. There will be numerous changes in the coming year with so many older players on the roster in their unsuccessful bid to take the league championship. Many decisions will occur when the team convenes for training camp in August, and the NHL teams decide which players to retain, sign, and assign to their farm leagues.

We know that Jack O’Brien, Gabe Klassen, and James Stefan won’t return due to turning 21. The list goes Kyle Chyzowski unsigned, Josh Davies drafted by Florida in 6th round. Marcus Nguyen not signed, Nate Danielson signed by Detroit, Marek Alscher signed by Florida, Tyson Juggnauth signed by the Coachella Firebirds farm team of NHL Seattle Kraken, which hasn’t listed if ELC or not, Ryder Thompson not signed, Luca Cagnoni signed with San Jose and goaltenders Jan Spunar, Justen Maric and Nick Avakyan who as reassigned to Alberta last year. Luke Brunen, who appeared for the Hawks at the start of the season, was not listed on the up-to-date roster but is only 17, so they could play backup to an incoming goaltender if Jan is signed. Justen and Nick are most likely not going to be signed nor return to the Hawks fold as the glut of overage goaltenders is such that even if Spunar is signed during an NHL camp and sticks with a team, at best, either Maric or Avakyan would see limited action as they would be used as a backup situation.

With the team only able to hold three spots for overage players and having nine listed, there are most likely changes coming. Expect Danielson, Juggernaut, and Alscher to stick, and possibly Cagnoni, as he just signed. The odds are Chykowski, Marcus Nguyen, and Thompson if Cagnoni doesn’t return as the overagers and barring Spunar’s return.  

The unveiling of camp in the next couple of months will dictate who the Hawks feel will remain in their system. In addition, female goaltender Moran Stickney may make an appearance at camp as a 16-year-old. Though she won’t be with the team until next season, seeing how she plays and makes history simultaneously will be fascinating.

Avatar photo
About Stuart Kemp 364 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

2 Comments

  1. Article says Saginaw beat London to advance to final and London played Moosejaw in semi. Saginaw played in the semi

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*