Spitfires GM Warren Rychel, who spent nine NHL seasons with five different teams, hugs the Memorial Cup after Windsor's improbable march to the title. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz)
DETROIT – One day after a raucous rally and parade through town, the Windsor Spitfires – the newly crowned Memorial Cup champions – will be recognized by the Red Wings during Game 5 of the Western Conference finals at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.
“This is a total honor when the best organization in pro sports invites us over,” Windsor general manager Warren Rychel said. “This is an incredible invite from Mr. (Mike) Ilitch, Jimmy Devellano and Kenny Holland. Our kids can’t get over their fast enough.”
The Red Wings, who will face the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. EDT, are one win away from returning to the Stanley Cup finals for the second consecutive season.
The Spitfires are the only team in the 91-year history of the Memorial Cup to win the title after losing the first two games of the tournament. Windsor dropped games to Drummondville (3-2, OT) and Rimouski (5-4) before making their improbable comeback.
Windsor then posted consecutive wins over Kelowna (2-1), Rimouski (6-4), Drummondville (3-2, OT) to advance to last Sunday’s championship game against Kelowna.
In the championship, the Spitfires jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period behind goals by center Adam Henrique, right wing Dale Mitchell and defenseman Rob Kwiet. Defenseman Ryan Ellis added an insurance goal in the second.
“This has been great,” Rychel said. “It’s really been unbelievable.”