MONTREAL - The table is set and the guests have all RSVP’d for the Memorial Cup Championships, set to begin in Rimouski this weekend. The host Oceanic has spent the year preparing for the occasion, but the Drummondville Voltigeurs, the Kelowna Rockets and the Windsor Spitfires are looking to spoil their party and walk away with the ultimate parting gift.
Junior players from coast to coast have battled it out throughout 68 regular season games and four grueling rounds of playoffs with one goal in sight: the Memorial Cup.
With two young Habs prospects squaring off in the tournament, when the puck drops on May 15, there’s no doubt the Canadiens’ brass will be watching closely. Montreal’s third-round pick from the 2007 Draft, Olivier Fortier
is still in the hunt for his first CHL title. Despite having been swept in the QMJHL semifinal by Drummondville, the Rimouski pivot posted career numbers throughout the playoffs, notching four goals and adding five helpers in 13 games this postseason.
Fortier’s squad will be making the franchise’s third appearance in tournament history this year. Led by current Dallas Stars standout Brad Richards, Rimouski captured the club’s only Memorial Cup in 2000. Five years later in London, Sidney Crosby surfed the Oceanic all the way to the Cup Final before losing out to the host Knights 4-0.
With a Memorial Cup championship, Fortier can become the first player drafted by the Canadiens to captain his team to the crown. There have been 13 draftees in Habs franchise history who have won the Cup, including the likes of Rejean Houle, Mark Napier, Marc Tardif, Darcy Tucker and Guy Lafleur, who was drafted a few months after his postseason run with the Quebec Remparts in 1971.
Another Canadiens’ prospect has already laid claim to some hardware this season. Dany Masse’s Voltigeurs are making their way to Rimouski with a President’s Cup championship already under their belts.
Potting 15 goals and 21 assists in just 19 playoff games this year, the QMJHL’s second-leading scorer will look to cap his dream season – and close out his junior career – by hoisting his first Memorial Cup. Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com
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