The Ontario Hockey League Showcase Cup got underway Wednesday at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, where the top 18 minor midget teams from Ontario and two teams from the United States will play over the next five days for the OHL Cup.
More than 200 scouts will be watching the 15-year-olds, who are eligible for next year's OHL priority draft.
"The OHL Cup is one of the most high profile events in the minor midget age group," said the OHL's director of recruitment and education services, Joe Birch. "Every OHL team is represented, by way of their head scouts, general managers and coaching staffs. Players have the opportunity to showcase themselves and there is a significant amount of talent here this year.
"We are very excited for the 1993 age group and the 2009 OHL priority selection."
The Toronto Marlboros enter the tourney as the top seed, having lost only one game this year under coach Ken Strong.
"The pressure is that we are supposed to win, and everybody expects us to win," Strong said before the Marlboros opened the tournament Wednesday. "My guys are so excited and they're so prepared. They know how to win and they want to win.
"The only thing left to do is win."
Top seeds win first games
The Marlboros began the tournament with a 3-2 victory over the third-seeded team from St. Catharines. The tourney's No. 2 seed, York Simcoe Express, also got off to a winning start, downing the Toronto Jr. Canadiens 3-1 on Wednesday.
Rounding out the top 10 seeds are Elgin Middlesex Chiefs (3), Quinte Red Devils (4), Mississauga Reps (6), Mississauga Senators (7), Burlington Eagles (8), London Jr. Knights (9) and Toronto Young Nationals (10).
Other teams include the Eastern Ontario Wild, GNML Wolves, Vaughan Kings, Ottawa Senators, TPH Thunder, Thunder Bay, Barrie Colts, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, and the two American teams, the TPH Thunder and Rochester.
The tournament wraps up Sunday with the championship game scheduled for 5 p.m. Our Game is covering the gold medal game live with a blog from the rink, detailing goals as they're scored, penalties as they're called, and all the action as it happens.
On Thursday at 1 p.m. ET, Our Game will also run a live blog from the Hershey Centre about the pressure of the game. We've rounded up three experts to take your questions give answers on the spot.
For blogs, pictures and scores from the tournament, visit Our Game's Community OHL Group.