Memorial Cup 100 — Celebration of the Century!

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Hockey season is back in full swing, and what better time to look back at the 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup! Held May 17 to 27 in the Queen City, this was a hockey tournament and celebration like no other to mark the 100th anniversary of the Cup.

As the event unfolded, attendees experienced a spectacular opening ceremony, Eagles concert and fireworks show at Mosaic Stadium, military and Humboldt Broncos tributes, Hockey Hall of Fame and military exhibits, the Brandt Celebration Zone and Fan Zone, and, of course, exceptional competitive hockey.

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Joe Walsh of The Eagles (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

An event of this magnitude takes immense planning and resources, and Shaun Semple, president of Brandt Industries and co-owner of the Pats franchise (which also celebrated 100 years in 2018), reveals the total budget was equivalent to three Memorial Cups. “It's a tremendous amount of work. I had 15 people at Brandt alone dedicated to the event for six months prior. The Pats and Canadian Hockey League (CHL) were both dedicated to the event. I had a great team and really appreciate what they did.”

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(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

Through corporate sponsorships and support, more than 2,000 school children were brought in to view exhibits. Bennett Dunlop provided 40 brand new Explorers, 500 volunteers stepped forward, and an MMC app was created for the first time. For the first time in years, all the NHL and CHL Cups were on display, and 17 different bands performed in the Brandt Celebration Zone during the 10 days so that everyone could join in the celebration, even if they didn’t watch hockey!

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2018 Memorial Cup champions Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Brandt Centre on May 27, 2018 in Regina, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/CHL Images)

The winners of the Western, Ontario and Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues, along with a host club, compete annually for this national championship. This year’s teams — Regina Pats, Swift Current Broncos, Hamilton Bulldogs and Acadie-Bathurst Titan — were closely matched, adding to the exciting prospect that the Cup really was up for grabs during round-robin play. It was the Regina Pats first appearance in the Cup since 1974, and Pats’ fans packed the Brandt Centre to cheer on their team right until their heartbreaking 3-0 loss to the Titan in the final game.

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Regina’s Sam Steel led the tournament in scoring, claiming both the Stafford Smythe Trophy as tournament MVP, as well as the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as leading scorer. Semple notes: It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play in the Memorial Cup, and to have two local teams was really a special treat. The CHL teams are really the feeder system for the NHL, so it is some of the best hockey for the price you pay.”

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(Photo by Marissa Baecker/CHL Images)

Semple reflects on the event and its military roots. “Most people don't understand the depth of the connection to the military, and that was one of the things we were trying to show through the whole thing. The military is really the Pats history, and it is the reason for the Memorial Cup. It was to pay tribute to the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WWI and since then. Our responsibility is not just to put on a good show, but to really pay tribute to the military every time we show up on the ice.”

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“I thank everyone from Regina for supporting the event,” adds Semple, affirming his belief that Regina needs more big events and the facilities to be competitive. “It meant a lot to the ownership of the Pats for the people to come out and support us. I've had so many thank you emails, letters and notes for bringing the event to the city. Without fan support, Regina doesn't get the events. The more we support them, the more we get.”

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