The newly crowned WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds take on the Erie Otters in the first game at the Mastercard Memorial Cup at noon Saturday at the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.
The T-Birds defeated the Regina Pats in the WHL Championship in six games to advance to the Memorial Cup. It was the T-Birds’ first league title in their 40-year existence.
Seattle will play a round-robin tournament with the Otters, champions of the Ontario Hockey League, Windsor Spitfires, the host team, and Saint John Seadogs, champions of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Canadian Hockey League Championship.
All T-Birds game can be heard on 1090 The Fan over the air and online. Thom Beuning will have the play-by-play call.
All games at the Mastercard Memorial Cup will be broadcast on the NHL Network on a live or tape delay basis. The NHL Network will utilize the Sportsnet broadcasts and will have RJ Broadhead on the play-by-play and Sam Cosentino with the color analysis.
Note: The first time listed below is Pacific Daylight Time at the start of each game. The time in parentheses is when the broadcast will start on the NHL Network. Fans should consult their local cable provider to determine which channel carries the NHL Network.
2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup Schedule
Friday, May 19
4 p.m. – Saint John Sea Dogs vs. Windsor Spitfires (Tape delay – 5 p.m. NHL Network)
Saturday, May 20
Noon – Erie Otters vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (Tape delay – 4 p.m. NHL Network)
Sunday, May 21
4 p.m. – Windsor Spitfires vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (Live – 4 p.m. NHL Network)
Monday, May 22
4 p.m. – Erie Otters vs. Saint John Sea Dogs (Tape Delay – 5 p.m. NHL Network)
Tuesday, May 23
4 p.m. – Seattle Thunderbirds vs. Saint John Sea Dogs (Tape delay – 5 p.m. NHL Network)
Wednesday, May 24
4 p.m. – Windsor Spitfires vs. Erie Otters (Tape delay – 6 p.m. NHL Network)
Thursday, May 25
4 p.m. – Tiebreaker Game/TBD, if necessary (Tape delay – 5 p.m. NHL Network)
Friday, May 26
4 p.m. – 2017 Memorial Cup Semifinal (Tape delay – 5 p.m. NHL Network)
Sunday, May 28
4 p.m. – 2017 Memorial Cup Championship (Live – 4 p.m. NHL Network)
About the Memorial Cup
The 2017 season marks the 99th anniversary of the Memorial Cup. The cup, one of the most prestigious and coveted trophies in North American sport, has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in The First World War. In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel.
Initially the cup was awarded to the national junior hockey champions of Canada. Later on it came to signify Junior “A” hockey supremacy when in 1934, junior hockey in Canada was divided into “A” and “B” classes. In 1971, when junior “A” hockey was divided into major junior and Tier 11 junior A, the Memorial Cup was awarded to the higher category and was given to the major junior hockey champions of Canada. In 1972, a round-robin tournament format replaced the old playdown system to determine the champions. Since then, the champions of the Western Hockey League, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League, have met each spring in a round-robin series with the two top teams playing off in a sudden-death game to determine the Cup champions.
The Memorial Cup became an international trophy in 1983 as the tournament was held outside Canada for the first time, when the Portland Memorial Coliseum was the host arena. The hometown Winterhawks took home the title that year to become the first non-Canadian based team to win the Memorial Cup. Portland again hosted the tournament in 1986 and Seattle played host in 1992. In 1991, the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League became the second U.S.-based team to claim the title. The Chiefs won the title again in 2008 in Kitchener, Ontario.
In the last 45 tournaments since the round-robin format was established, Western Hockey League teams have won the title 19 times, Ontario Hockey League teams have claimed 16 titles and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League teams have won the title 10 times.