New Brunswick

Small city bursts with pride over Bathurst's Memorial Cup win

You're never too small to have a big goal.

Titan beat Regina Pats 3-0 to win hockey team's 1st national championship in franchise history

Acadie-Bathurst Titan forward Samuel Asselin (28) sends a shot between Regina Pats forward Cameron Hebig (41) and Pats goalie Max Paddock (33) during the third period of the Memorial Cup final in Regina on Sunday. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

You're never too small to have a big goal.

That's the message Bathurst Mayor Paolo Fongemie wants his community to take away from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan's win of the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup final Sunday.

"Even though we're from a small community, we can achieve great things," said Fongemie in an interview with Information Morning Fredericton.

The team beat the Regina Pats 3-0 to win their first Memorial Cup in franchise history at the Brandt Centre in Regina.

While the final was played in Saskatchewan over the weekend, that didn't stop the northern New Brunswick city from witnessing the big game.

Thousands of people showed up early to the city's viewing party at the Promenade Waterfront Park on Sunday, where they watched on a giant screen.

The words "Go Titans Go" were also flashing on many business signs in Bathurst. Others had signs up outside featuring the team logo and flags.

The Titan heavily outshot Regina for the first two periods, but the Pats were kept in the game by their goaltender Max Paddock, who turned away 41 of 43 shots.

Fongemie said this kept viewers in suspense, and the game brought "a roller-coaster of emotions" to the crowd.

The Titan won their first ever CHL title with a 3-0 win over host city Regina in the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup final Sunday. 1:41

"The second period they were just dominating [Titan]," he said. "They couldn't get that second goal and everybody was nervous … that the other team might even score."

Even after the team won, people were driving around honking their horns. Fongemie said his cellphone was ringing off the hook.

"Everyone was so proud of the Titans," he said. "No matter what happened they are champions."

History in the making

The Titan moved 20 years ago to Bathurst, one of the smallest markets in the Canadian Hockey League.

The team, which was making its second appearance at the Memorial Cup and first since its first year in Bathurst, has consistently ranked among the lowest in league attendance.

The low draws, talk of possible relocation and poor on-ice results led to the Titan being sold by Leo-Guy Morrissette in 2013.

Titan forward Samuel Asselin celebrates after scoring on Paddock, who faced 43 Acadie-Bathurst shots and stopped 41. The third Titan goal was on an empty net. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Fongemie said the team has overcome years of trials and tribulations, which would inspire local athletes, but also residents and businesses.

"Their achievement will help boost the morale for everybody up north in the province," he said.

"Everybody who has a north shore connection is very proud of our team."

The city of Bathurst had a big viewing party for the community to cheer on the Titan. Mayor Paolo Fongemie says "everyone that has a north shore connection is very proud of our team." 6:55

The team is set to return home early Monday evening, where the players can expect to be greeted by hundreds of fans.

The city said it will also hold a parade at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, starting at the Promenade Waterfront, going along Main Street to King Avenue and winding up at Coronation Park, where there will be a celebration ceremony at about 7 p.m. 

The mayor is also hoping to commemorate the win by putting it on the city's "Welcome to Bathurst" sign on the approaches to the city.

"It's going to be a week full of celebrations," he said. "History has been written."

With files from the Canadian Press and Gail Harding