Centennial Cup field finalized

TORONTO – The 10-team field that will compete in the upcoming Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, is now set.

Each of the nine-member Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) champions have been determined and will join the host Oakville Blades (OJHL) at the event which runs May 9-19, at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex.

Here’s a look at the clubs who will represent their respective leagues in their quest for the Canadian National Junior A Championship:

Calgary Canucks (AJHL)
Head coach: Brad Moran

Winning the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s interpipeline Cup back on April 17, the Canucks were the first team to join the host Oakville Blades (OJHL) in the Centennial Cup.

A three-player threat in Ty Hipkin, Gavin Garland and Julien Gervais tied for the AJHL playoff scoring lead with 18 points each.

Hipkin and Garland had nine goals apiece while Gervais notched seven markers.

Goaltender Julian Molinaro went 12-3 in the postseason, with an average of 2.56 and a .908 save mark. He also had one shutout.

Melfort Mustangs (SJHL)
Head coach: Trevor Blevins

Melfort punched their ticket to Oakville by upending the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s regular season title holders, the Flin Flon Bombers, in taking the final in six games.

A four-pack of Mustangs led the SJHL in playoff scoring.

Topping the table was skilled forward Aidyn Hutchinson who racked up 32 points in 18 outings, including a league-best 15 goals.

Left winger Ryan Duguay and defenceman Chase Friedt-Mohr were next as the duo had 24 points each in the postseason.

Clay Sleeva rounded out that group, as he provided 20 points for Melfort.

Seeing the bulk of the work in net for the Mustangs was James Venne.

He registered a SJHL-high 12 playoff victories, in 18 starts, while having a 2.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .925.

Winkler Flyers (MJHL)
Head coach: Justin Faulk

Winkler heads to the Centennial Cup after winning the Manitoba Junior Hockey League crown for the first time in 26 years.

Tied for the MJHL playoff scoring lead was the Flyers’ Trent Penner.

He picked up 14 points in 15 match-ups, with four of his six goals being game-winners, which paced the MJHL.

Joining Penner for top spot in postseason numbers was teammate Dalton Andrew.

Right behind them was fellow Winkler forward Zach Nicolas, who provided 13 points.

MJHL playoff MVP Malachi Klassen stood tall between the pipes for the Flyers, going 12-3 with a sharp 2.07 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.

Sioux Lookout Bombers (SIJHL)
Head coach: Carson Johnstone

Winning the Superior International Junior Hockey League’s Bill Salonen Cup in just their second-year of operation, Sioux Lookout shone brightly when called upon.

Jonah Smith was the club’s leading point-getter in the playoffs with 17 in 13 outings, on a SIJHL-best 11 markers and six helpers.

The Bombers had five others who finished in the Top 10 in league postseason numbers.

They were Alex Lucas (3G-13A-16PTS); Owen Riffel (6G-8A-14PTS); Cobe Delaney (5G-9A-14PTS); Connor Burke (3G-11A-14PTS) and Trevor Sanderson (5G-8A-13PTS).

Goalkeeper Jack Osmond was named the league playoff MVP after going 12-1 with a 2.24 average, a save mark of .944, and a pair of shutouts.  

Greater Sudbury Cubs (NOJHL)
Head coach: Darryl Moxam

The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Greater Sudbury Cubs carried a solid regular season into the playoffs to win it all in the 12-team NOJHL.

They downed the Powassan Voodoos in five games to take the title and finish 12-4 overall.

Paced by 16-year-old rookie Hudson Chitaroni, and equally versatile forward Nolan Newton, the Cubs’ combo put-up 22 points apiece to share the NOJHL lead as did their dozen tallies apiece.

On the back-end, Mason Chitaroni led all NOJHL defencemen in scoring with 13 points, all assists, in Greater Sudbury’s run to the championship. Another veteran D-man in Josh Kavanagh tied for second in that department, with 11 points to his credit.

NOJHL playoff MVP Noah Metivier matched his efforts while a member of the Soo Thunderbirds in 2022 to earn a second trip to the Centennial Cup.

With the Cubs he went 11-4 with a 1.89 goals-against average and .932 save mark. His three full shutouts, and a share of a fourth, paced the league in the postseason.

Collingwood Blues (OJHL)
Head coach: Andrew Campoli

Collingwood captured their second consecutive Ontario Junior Hockey League Buckland Cup title after knocking off the Trenton Golden Hawks in a best-of-seven affair that went six games.

The Blues were led offensively by veteran forward Spencer Young, who provided 30 points in 19 postseason outings on a dozen tallies and 18 assists.

They also saw Dylan Hudon and Jack Rimmer surpass the 20-point plateau with 24 and 22 respectively.

Netminder Noah Pak was stellar between the pipes for Collingwood, going 16-3 with a 1.74 goals-against average and a solid .939 save percentage, along with an OJHL-best four shutouts.

Navan Grads (CCHL)
Head coach: Marty Abrams

Navan won the Central Canada Hockey League’s Bogart Cup championship Wednesday night, defeating the Smiths Falls Bears four games to two.

The Grads boasted four of the Top 5 scorers in the CCHL playoffs.

Pacing the group was Colin MacDougall, who registered 21 points on 10 tallies and 11 helpers.

Next was Sebbie Johnson, who was second among CCHL skaters, as he picked up 18 points, including six markers.

Defenceman Nicholas Paone and forward Cristobal Tola provided 14 points apiece to share fourth in league numbers.

Rookie goaltender, and CCHL playoff MVP, Jaeden Nelson went 12-5 in the playoffs to backstop his side to the CCHL crown, sporting an average of 2.41. along with a .932 save mark and a CCHL-high two shutouts.

Collège Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ)
Head coach: Patrick Bergeron

Claiming the Quebec AAA Junior Hockey League NAPA Cup crown, Collège Français downed the Everest de la Côte-du-Sud in a thrilling seven-game affair that went the distance.

Simon Laramee was Longueuil’s top point-getter as he chipped in with 19 points in 18 outings on 10 goals and nine assists.

Next on the squad were Thomas Bourbonnais (8G-10A-18PTS) and Brandon Boudreau (11G-6A-17PTS).

Netminder Mathis Lacroix-Goulet appeared in 18 playoff games, going 12-6 with a 2.37 goals-against average, along with a crisp .924 save percentage.

Miramichi Timberwolves (MHL)
Head coach: Kory Baker

Winning their first-ever Maritime Hockey League championship, Thursday night at home, in front of 2,300 rambunctious spectators at the Miramichi Civic Centre, the Timberwolves rallied for a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Summerside Western Capitals, to take the best-of-seven affair in six games.

Zachael Turgeon led all MHL skaters in scoring to pace Miramichi.

He had a league-high 23 points, on nine goals and 14 assists.

The T-Wolves duo of David Doucet and Hugo Doucette shared third in MHL playoff numbers with 20 points apiece. Doucet led way in the league in tallies with 13.

Netminder Jack Flanagan was stellar for Miramichi, going unbeaten in regulation during the playoffs, and finishing 11-2 overall.

Along with that, Flanagan had a GAA of 2.86 and a .917 SV%.  

Oakville Blades (OJHL) (HOST)
Head coach: Scott McCrory

The Blades began well in the Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs, downing the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, four games to two, in opening round action.

However, their quest to win the OJHL’s Buckland Cup was thwarted by the eventual winners, the Collingwood Blues, who came away victorious for a second straight year.

Collingwood dropped Oakville in five contests, but the team still saw their season continue as Centennial Cup hosts.

Noah Tyrrell led the squad in playoff scoring with a dozen points, in 11 match-ups, on five goals and six assists.

The Blades’ Eric Bonsteel boasted the best point-per-game average among OJHL defencemen at 1.00, with 10 points in as many outings. He was also fifth in numbers among blueliners.

Goaltender Gavin McCarthy went 5-6 in the postseason with a goals-against average at 2.44.

His .938 save percentage ranked him fifth among all OJHL netminders.

Competition at the 2024 Centennial Cup begins at noon ET on Thursday, May 9 as the Winkler Flyers (MJHL) take on the Sioux Lookout Bombers (SIJHL).


Photo credit: Michelle Malvaso / OJHL Images