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Extraordinary Stories About Ordinary People

Leaving the fort

Before we start, here's some useful infos : the Memorial cup is the biggest tournement in Canadian junior hockey, it is disputed between 4 teams from the 3 leagues whom are part of the CHL. Qualifying is straight forward, league champions and the hosting city all get a place.

So, when the Quebec Remparts lost their league's final against hosting team Moncton Wildcats, they found themselves in a weird situation.

They were the invited team at the Memorial cup, being neither champions or host. Which made them the weakest link of the four. LHJMQ the Quebec based league historically being the "weakest" of the CHL leagues.

Never before had an invited team won the tournement, and losing their first game against Peterborough did nothing to change the betting odds on this. Moncton beat Vancouver 3-2 and the Petes 4-2. A 6-3 win against Vancouver and a huge 4-2 win against Moncton gave Quebec the 1st place and the automatic spot in the final on vertue of the goal differential. (+3)

While Peterborough and Vancouver played the a tie breaker for the semi. Peterborough got storched 6-0 by Vancouver and the Giants then lost 3-1 to the Wildcats. Just like that, the Memorial cup final was going to involve the two best teams from the LHJMQ, the Wildcats had won the regular season by one point over Quebec and as mentionned earlier, the league playoffs as well. Slim margins but Moncton were just a superior team, it was very apparent.

Not to mention the rivalry that had developped between the teams, mostly because of the hatred and huge contrast between the two teams coaches. Which almost deserves an article of its own.

The Remparts were on a good run, but overall most people thought that Moncton would prevail. The season and subsequent playoff were suggesting as much.

Oh how wrong were they! Quebec went up 4-0 after 31 minutes of play, Moncton scored two quick goals but lost 6-2. To the first ever team to win the Memorial cup without being neither the host or a league champion.

Here are some facts I wanted to share only at the end, simply to let you focus on the story itself and not the actors.

-It was the first CHL championship for Quebec since 1970,

-They were coached by NHL HOFer and Quebec City native, Patrick Roy. 151 playoffs wins, NHL record.

-Boston Bruins great and future NHL Hall of Famer Patrice Bergeron was part of this team

 
 

ANDREW GELINAS

Writer, Creator

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