Thunder Bay Kings ready to face off in Telus Cup
This will be the Thunder Bay team's 1st appearance in the tournament since winning the event in 1997
The Thunder Bay Kings will face off against teams from five other communities as they host this year's Telus Cup national midget hockey championship starting in about two weeks.
Aside from the host team, the tournament will also feature squads from Toronto, Calgary, Halifax, Tisdale, Sask, and Magog, Qué. The Telus Cup runs from April 22-28 at the Fort William Gardens.
The Kings lost 6-5 in overtime to the Tisdale Trojans in the western regional final on Sunday, but they are guaranteed a berth in the national tournament because they're the host team.
Kings president Michael Power believes the Trojans could be the Kings' biggest obstacle to winning the championship.
"If we go back over the last 40 years ... since the AAA national midget championships have been held, about 50 per cent of the winners — literally 50 per cent of the winners — have come out of that western Canada zone," he said.
The Kings will take what they learned from their two losses against the Trojans during the western championships to try to improve on their performance at the national level, he said.
"They're big, they're very physical, they're strong on the puck," Power said of the Trojans.
"We're going to have to ensure that we regroup in the neutral zone, dump the puck in, play the puck down in their zone, more so than we did yesterday," he said. "We're obviously going to need strong goaltending."
The Kings are North American Prospects Hockey League champions for the first time ever this year. This will be their first appearance in the Telus Cup since winning the event in 1997.
The Toronto Young Nationals earned the central berth in the national championship Sunday by blanking North Bay 4-0, while the Halifax Macs beat Kensington 4-1 to take the Atlantic region title.
On Saturday, the Calgary Buffaloes downed the Caribou Cougars 3-2 in overtime to clinch the Pacific berth.
On Thursday, the Cantonniers de Magog beat Lac St-Louis for the Ligue de hockey midget AAA du Québec championship and the Quebec berth.