CHILLIWACK, B.C. – The final event to crown a Canadian Junior Hockey League champion begins today as the RBC Cup starts this afternoon in Chilliwack, B.C.
The five-team event features the host Chilliwack Chiefs going up against the respective four regional champions as they look to crown a Canadian Jr. A champion.
Earning their way to compete for the title with the Chiefs are the Ottawa Jr. A Senators (Fred Page Cup); Wellington Dukes (Dudley-Hewitt Cup); Steinbach Pistons (ANAVET Cup) and the Wenatchee Wild (Doyle Cup), who all won their respective regional championships as well as their own league crowns.
HOW THEY ADVANCED: While the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) were already determined as the host team, the other four competing squads would go on to win not only their own league championship, they also punched their ticket to B.C. by capturing their regional events.
The Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) hosted the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Championship and went on to defeat College Français Longueuil in the title game to advance.
As for the Wellington Dukes (OJHL), they claimed the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian crown by defeating the host Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) in the final of that one.
The ANAVET Cup Manitoba/Saskatchewan series featured the Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) getting past the Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) in six close games before winning on home ice.
Meanwhile the Doyle Cup Alberta/B.C. match-up saw the Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) knock off the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) in five contests to take that best-of-seven affair and become just the second U.S.-based club to advance to the RBC Cup.
The Minnesota Wilderness, then of the SIJHL, were the first American side to do so back in 2013.
GAME ACTION: Round robin competition will see each team play each other once through the course of six days.
After the RBC Cup/CJHL Awards Banquet on Friday, May 18, the top four teams after the round robin will move on to semifinal play on Saturday, May 19 with the No. 1 seed taking on No. 4 while No. 2 and No. 3 will meet in the other.
The first place finisher in the round robin will have the choice of playing in either the first semifinal at 2 p.m. PT or the second, which goes at 7 p.m. PT.
ONLINE: You can follow all the action of the RBC Cup online as every round robin and semifinal game will be streamed live online via both the official event website at hockeycanada.ca/rbccup as well as via HockeyTV.com.
The championship game will air on TSN at 4 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 20.
DID YOU KNOW: Wellington Dukes head coach John Druce will look become the first coach to lead a team to a RBC Cup title in consecutive years since Mark Ferner guided the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) to national titles in 2009 and 2010.
Last season Druce led the Cobourg Cougars (OJHL) to the RBC Cup on home ice.
Ed Johnstone also coached clubs to back-to-back Canadian Jr. A championships in 1990 and 1991 when he accomplished the feat with the then Vernon Lakers.
Terry Simpson previously guided the Prince Albert Raiders to back-to-back then Centennial Cup titles in 1981 and ’82.
RBC Cup schedule (All start times PST)
Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) Host
Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) Fred Page Cup champions
Wellington Dukes (OJHL) Dudley-Hewitt Cup champions
Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) ANAVET Cup champions
Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) Doyle Cup champions
Wellington vs. Ottawa 2 p.m.
Wenatchee vs. Chilliwack 7 p.m.
Steinbach vs. Wenatchee 2 p.m.
Chilliwack vs. Ottawa 7 p.m.
Steinbach vs. Wellington 7 p.m.
Ottawa vs. Wenatchee 2 p.m.
Wellington vs. Chilliwack 7 p.m.
Ottawa vs. Steinbach 7 p.m.
Wenatchee vs. Wellington 2 p.m.
Chilliwack vs. Steinbach 7 p.m.
Semifinal 1: T.B.A. vs. T.B.A. 2 p.m.
Semifinal 2: T.B.A. vs. T.B.A. 7 p.m.
Final: Semifinal winners 4 p.m.
With files from Brent Mutis, Communications Director (BCHL) & Hockey Canada Communications