Moncton had beaten Quebec to win the 2006 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League title. But the Remparts prevailed twice against the Wildcats in the Memorial Cup tournament, as Moncton failed to satisfy a rabid hometown crowd.
2006 Memorial Cup Round-Robin Results
The 2006 Memorial Cup Contenders
The Quebec Remparts lost the Quebec League final to Moncton. The Russian winger Alexander Radulov might be the most dangerous player in junior hockey, with 152 points in the regular season and another 55 in the playoffs. Another explosive forward is Angelo Esposito, a candidate for top pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. But the biggest star on this team is owner and coach Patrick Roy.
The Moncton Wildcats qualified automatically as the host team, but would have made it anyway as champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Moncton went 11-0 at home during the playoffs, though 51-goal scorer Stephane Goulet sat out the final series with a knee injury. This team was built for this tournament, with former NHL coach of the year Ted Nolan hired as the final piece. Anything less than a national championship will be a disappointment.
The Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough Petes include Jordan Staal, brother of Carolina Hurricanes' star Eric, and Daniel Ryder, brother of Montreal Canadiens' scorer Michael. Ryder was the OHL playoff MVP with 15 goals. They also have Steve Downie, a world-class agitator whose occasional dirty play makes him a villain among opposing fans. The Petes are making their eighth Memorial Cup appearance since 1972, a CHL record.
Combining the final weeks of the regular season with the playoffs, the Vancouver Giants have 28 wins in their last 30 games. They are in this tournament for the first time as Western Hockey League champs. Key players include goalie Dustin Slade, with six playoff shutouts, and playoff MVP Gilbert Brule, who scored 16 goals in 18 playoff games.
What is the Memorial Cup?
The Memorial Cup determines the champion of the Canadian Hockey League, which is classified as a "major junior" league. Major junior is the top level of youth hockey in North America, with players aged from 16 to 20. About half of the players selected in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft came from CHL teams.
The 56 teams of the CHL are divided into three seperate leagues. There are teams in every Canadian province, plus several in the northern United States. The Memorial Cup brings together the champion of each league, along with a host team selected prior to the season.
2006 Memorial Cup Format
The teams play each other, for a total of three games each. Standings are determined by awarding two points for each a win. The first-place team advances directly to the championship game. The second and third-place teams play the semifinal. In case of a tie in the standings, a tie-breaker is scheduled for Thursday.