Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff

Photo by MURRAY CRAWFORD/Advocate Staff

Memorial Cup coaches ‘Excited for the challenge’

Before the hostilities of competing for the MasterCard Memorial Cup, the coaches of the four teams involved talked about how they’re getting ready to square off. The puck drops on the 10-day tournament on Friday, but Wednesday evening Brent Sutter, Red Deer Rebels head coach; Dale Hunter, London Knights head coach; Gilles Bouchard, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies head coach; and Kelly McCrimmon, Brandon Wheat Kings head coach gathered in the Centrium.

Before the hostilities of competing for the MasterCard Memorial Cup, the coaches of the four teams involved talked about how they’re getting ready to square off.

The puck drops on the 10-day tournament on Friday, but Wednesday evening Brent Sutter, Red Deer Rebels head coach; Dale Hunter, London Knights head coach; Gilles Bouchard, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies head coach; and Kelly McCrimmon, Brandon Wheat Kings head coach gathered in the Centrium.

“We’ve been watching these guys play for the last two weeks,” said Sutter. “We’ve done a lot of practicing trying to get ready to play these three teams. They’re the champions of the leagues they play in, so we certainly have our hands full.

“To be quite honest, I’m kind of sitting up here as the loser right now.”

The Huskies (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), Knights (Ontario Hockey League) and Wheat Kings (Western Hockey League) all got to the Memorial Cup by winning their respective leagues. The Rebels, as hosts, have an automatic berth.

Bouchard’s Huskies lost only nine games in regulation and 14 games overall during the QMJHL season. They come into the tournament as the top ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League.

“We have four good teams here and the best team at this moment will win it,” said Bouchard.

“It’s our first Presidents Cup for our organization. It was an unbelievable moment for us. We had a great moment and now it’s time to turn the page and be ready for the Memorial Cup.”

After watching tape of the other three teams, Hunter said he expects there to be quality hockey during the tournament.

“All four of us coaches were challenged to put the puzzle together to win,” said Hunter.

“It makes it interesting, that’s what hockey is all about.”

This is the third time in four years the Knights have won the OHL championship, qualifying for the Memorial Cup but not winning the title.

McCrimmon said all four rounds of playoff hockey were a real challenge for his squad, starting with an Edmonton Oil Kings team that upset them twice in Brandon before the Wheat Kings rebounded and won four straight games.

Facing teams they have never seen before changes preparation to an extent.

“You can’t over-analyze it,” said McCrimmon. “It’s still hockey, you still have to be able to play. For our team, we’re preparing for our game Saturday against Rouyn-Noranda that’s our focus. Likely the same as the other three teams, we’re more worried about our own team and how we play than we would be in a series.

“This is a sprint.”

The Rebels have had their spot booked in the Memorial Cup since they were announced as hosts in 2014.

“We’re excited for the challenge,” said Sutter. “We feel like we have a good team and we can compete and it will be nice to see how it goes here. It’ll happen quite quickly and every game is very important, it’s like a Game 7.”

Rebels

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

EDMONTON — Alberta’s COVID-19-era budget made a hard landing Thursday with an… Continue reading

The expansion of the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has been discussed for over a decade. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital expansion gets about $6 million in 2021 provincial budget

According to the government’s three-year plan, the project will get $59 million by 2024.

The Town of Sylvan Lake has launched a new contest to attract a new business. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Sylvan Lake offering rent-free storefront space to lure new businesses

Winning business proposal will get a storefront space rent-free for a year

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell is hoping to pick up where he left off last season as the 2020-21 WHL season kicks off Friday in Red Deer against the Medicine Hat Tigers. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Rebels set to host Tigers in WHL season opener

24-game WHL Alberta only season kicks off night Friday at the Centrium

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

‘Black box’ in Woods SUV could yield clues to cause of wreck

Team Saskatchewan skip Sherry Anderson reacts to her shot against Team Quebec at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

Peterson’s wild-card team edges N.W.T. skip Galusha to qualify for championship pool

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

No-size-fits-all residence approach a reality for Canadian Hockey League teams

FILE - New York Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist reacts after a save during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in New York, in this Sunday, March 1, 2020, file photo. The Flyers defeated the Rangers 5-3. Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, announcing the news a little more than two months after joining the Washington Capitals. Lundqvist posted a written statement and a videotaped one on social media Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, saying it was a "pretty tough and emotional day." The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the New York Rangers after 15 seasons and signed a $1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Lundqvist back on ice, ‘months’ away from deciding future

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa holds up water collected from Neskantaga First Nation, where residents were evacuated over tainted water in October, during a rally at Queen's Park in Toronto on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Feds didn’t supply enough resources to end water advisories on First Nations: auditor

Most Read