Saturday, May 24, 2014

Some Memorial Cup history . . .

1. The OHL-champion Guelph Storm and WHL-champion Edmonton Oil Kings meet in the Memorial Cup final today in London, Ont. . . . The cities of Guelph and Edmonton each has welcomed home a Memorial Cup championship team on two occasions. . . . The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters -- that remains one of the great nicknames in Canadian hockey history -- won the title in 1952, with the Guelph Platers bringing it home in 1986. . . . The original Edmonton Oil Kings, who once appeared in seven straight Memorial Cup final series, won it all in 1963 and again in 1966.

2. In 1952, the Biltmore Mad Hatters and the Regina Pats hooked up in the best-of-seven Memorial Cup final, with games played at the Guelph Arena and in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. . . . Single-game tickets in Guelph’s new 4,247-seat arena were going for as much as $3 each. Why so expensive? Guelph’s host committee had to meet the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association’s guarantee. . . . If you are wondering, the Guelph team’s nickname actually was Biltmores. But with the team being sponsored by the Guelph Biltmore Hat Company, it became known as the Mad Hatters. Any Guelph player who scored three goals was given his choice of hats from the factory, which may, or may not, have been the beginning of the term ‘hat trick.’ . . . The story of the 1952 Memorial Cup is right here.

3. In 1963, the Oil Kings were in the Memorial Cup final for a fourth straight year. They would meet the Niagara Falls Flyers in a best-of-seven series that was played in its entirety in the Edmonton Gardens. . . . The Oil Kings would win the series, marking the first time since 1930 that a team from Saskatchewan, Alberta or B.C. had won the Memorial Cup. . . . The complete 1963 story is right here.

4. In 1966, the Oil Kings were back in the Memorial Cup final, and it was the seventh straight year in which they got there. Think about that for a moment when you are pondering junior hockey dynasties. . . . This time, the Oil Kings were up against the Oshawa Generals, including a 15-year-old defenceman named Bobby Orr, in a series that would be played in Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. . . . It was a different game back then, especially off the ice where front office types didn’t show any reluctance to snipe at the other side. . . . Check out the story of that series right here.

5. In 1986, the Guelph Platers were on of four teams to gather in Portland for the Memorial Cup tournament. Also there were the Hull Olympiques, Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winter Hawks. . . . The Platers were in their fourth season of existence and had come a long way from that first season in which they finished 7-63-0. . . . The story of the 1986 tournament is right here.

6. Who wins today? I think you would have to agree that the Storm is favoured. It was the best team in the round-robin portion, going 3-0 and outscoring the opposition, 18-7. Guelph beat Edmonton 5-2 in their round-robin clash last Saturday. . . . Of course, Guelph hasn’t played since Wednesday, while Edmonton went into the third overtime before eliminating the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Friday night. . . . In fact, the Oil Kings go into today’s championship game having played 133 minutes 47 seconds more than the Storm has in this tournament. . . . Yes, it’s quite likely that fatigue will be a major factor today. Of course, you can bet that Edmonton head coach Derek Laxdal and his staff aren’t mentioning the ‘F’ word. Besides, fatigue is just a state of mind, isn’t it?

7. The IIHF held its annual Congress in conjunction with the world championship that is on-going in Minsk, Belarus. . . . The big news out of the Congress involved a couple of rule changes. For starters, the IIHF has banned “spin-o-rama or lacrosse-type of moves” from shootouts and penalty shots. . . . As well, the IIHF membership agreed that the cheater on a goaltender’s catching glove has to go. But that hasn’t yet become a rule as the IIHF wants to enter into discussions with equipment manufacturers on that and other ways to reduce the size of goaltending gear. . . . The IIHF news release on the rules is right here.

8. A scoreclock hanging over centre ice would seem to be standard in any arena that is home to a major junior hockey franchise, wouldn’t it? It seems that isn’t the case in Regina, where the Brandt Centre has scoreboards on its east and west walls. But the Pats have new owners now and at least one of them has begun the push for a scoreclock at centre ice. . . . Greg Harder of the Regina LeaderPost has more right here.
(at London, Ont.)
Friday: Val-d’Or 1, London 0 (8,863)
Saturday: Guelph 5, Edmonton 2 (8,842)
Sunday: Edmonton 5, London 2 (8,863)
Monday: Guelph 6, Val-d’Or 3 (8,796)
Tuesday: Val-d’Or 4, Edmonton 3 (2OT) (8,745)
Wednesday: Guelph 7, London 2 (8,863)
Thursday: No game scheduled.
Friday’s semifinal: Edmonton 4, Val-d’Or 3 (3OT) (8,776)
Saturday: No game scheduled.
Sunday’s final: Guelph vs. Edmonton, 4 p.m.
No game scheduled.

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