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

Council approved a $3 million grant and a $19 million loan Tuesday to help keep Westerner Park sustainable. (Advocate file photo)
Red Deer city council approves $22M to keep Westerner Park viable after emotional debate

It’s vital ensure future success for the huge economic generator, says mayor

Red Deer Rebels goalie Chase Coward tries to find a loose puck during WHL action at the Centrium earlier this season. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Changes on the horizon for Red Deer Rebels next season

New coach, roster adjustments among top priorities for Sutter this offseason

Renovations and construction have begun at Red Deer Dream Centre. (Photo contributed)
Renovations underway at Red Deer Dream Centre

Christian-based addictions treatment centre

Red Deer County's municipal planning commission gave approval for a new directional sign for a business located near Elnora.
(Image from Red Deer County)
Red Deer County garden centre and winery gets sign approved

Delidais Estate Winery and DA Gardens is located near Elnora

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Boston Bruins left wing Nick Ritchie (21) and Washington Capitals defenseman Brenden Dillon (4) battle for the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Raffl’s late goal pushes Capitals past Bruins, 2-1

Chicago Blackhawks left wing Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers in Chicago, Saturday, May 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Toews’ question chases Chicago Blackhawks into offseason

Wheeler has two goals, two assists as Winnipeg Jets clinch third in North Division

Wheeler has two goals, two assists as Winnipeg Jets clinch third in North Division

Depleted Raptors drop a 115-96 decision to Leonard and Clippers

Depleted Raptors drop a 115-96 decision to Leonard and Clippers

Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, tosses the ball for a serve to Ilya Ivashka, of Belarus, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Saturday, March 27, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Diego Schwartzman at Italian Open

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Diego Schwartzman at Italian Open

Philadelphia Flyers' James van Riemsdyk (25) and Sean Couturier (14) celebrate past New Jersey Devils' Yegor Sharangovich (17) after a goal by van Riemsdyk during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Flyers drop from trendy East favorite to another lost season

Flyers drop from trendy East favorite to another lost season

André Gauthier is shown in a handout photo. Gauthier, a Canadian geologist who spent six years in and out of jail in Dubai after he allegedly uncovered fraud in a gold company, finally is back home in Quebec City after his release last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Detained in Dubai MANDATORY CREDIT
Canadian geologist detained in Dubai for six years is back home after charges dropped

Canadian geologist detained in Dubai for six years is back home after charges dropped

This undated photo provided by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department shows a group of bighorn sheep in North Dakota. Alberta's environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province's official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Bihrle/North Dakota Game and Fish Department via AP, File
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium: scientist

Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium: scientist

Most Read