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    Posted July 23, 2015 by

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    Jarret Reid, former hockey player, talks about 1993 Memorial Cup win


    In Canada, not many sports are more rarefied and more ingrained in the country’s culture than hockey.  Although the exact origins of the game are contested, hockey, first known as shinnie, is a sport that was first played in Canada, on the lakes of Nova Scotia.  Canada is a country that depicts a hockey scene on the back of its five dollar note. And according to a survey conducted several years ago by MasterCard, more than 80 percent of Canadians watch hockey every week.


    Yes, hockey is Canada’s national sport.  It makes sense, then, that Canada would have a hockey tournament as a way to remember its fallen soldiers.


    The MasterCard Memorial Cup is a national hockey tournament that began in Canada, and although several U.S. hockey teams compete in the championship, it’s a championship that’s fundamentally Canadian.


    Think of the Memorial Cup as junior hockey’s Stanley Cup.  Sixty Major Junior A teams are eligible to compete in the Memorial Cup Championship every year, teams representing 9 Canadian provinces and 4 states in the United States.  The Championship itself consists of a four-team, round-robin tournament between a host team and the champions of three leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, or OHL, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, or GMJHL, and the Western Hockey League or WHL.


    This is all good information to know.  But, what’s particularly interesting is how and why the Memorial Cup was founded way back in 1919.


    The Memorial Cup was the brainchild of James T. Sutherland, the President of the Ontario Hockey Association, and a man who, at the height of World War I, saw so many Canadian young men enlisting in the Great War, so many young men who were more comfortable holding a hockey stick than a gun.  Following the end of the war, Sutherland conceived of a junior hockey championship that would memorialize the Canadian men who were lost in the war.


    This would become the Memorial Cup Championship, the first of which would be played in 1919, in Toronto’s Arena Gardens.  Later, in 2010, the Memorial Cup Championship would be played as a way to honour all fallen Canadian military personnel.


    Winning the Memorial Cup is a goal for undoubtedly every junior hockey player.  But, the fact that the Cup is played in remembrance of military personnel adds an even more touching layer to the championship.


    It’s something that doesn’t go unnoticed among past championship winners.


    Jarret Reid, a former Canadian professional hockey player now turned hockey coach, won the Memorial Cup with his team, the Sault Greyhounds, in 1993.  For Jarret Reid, winning the Memorial Cup was a highlight of his career as a junior hockey player and helped him become a NHL draft pick.  But, the history and reason for the Memorial Cup was not lost on Reid either, not at all.


    “As a kid who grows up playing hockey and even entertains the dream of eventually becoming a professional hockey player, there are two championships that you think about — you think about one day winning the Stanley Cup and one day winning the Memorial Cup,” Jarret Reid says.  “For me, when we won the Memorial Cup in ’93, it really was a dream come true.  It was a culmination of many years of hard work, determination and practice.”


    Jarret Reid then notes, “As I remember, for myself and my teammates, the fact that the Memorial Cup is played as a remembrance to our countrymen who served made holding that trophy that much more special.”


    Next year’s Memorial Cup will be held in May at the ENMAX Centrium in Red Deer, Canada.  The games will be televised in Canada on Sportsnet and TVA Sports, and by the NHL Network in the United States, and like every year, it will attract a huge draw, both as far as television audiences and audiences watching the championship live.


    Offering a final note, Jarret Reid adds, “Every year I look forward to watching the Memorial Cup.  It brings me back to when I played in the OHL and watching all the up-and-coming junior players really is exciting.”

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