CHILLIWACK, B.C. — The field is set for the 2018 RBC Cup with games starting this Saturday, May 12 at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, B.C.
It’s the third time in the last 10 years a BCHL team has hosted the Junior A national championship tournament after Victoria in 2009 and Vernon in 2014.
There are 41 players competing in this year’s tournament that are committed to college hockey programs for future seasons, 39 of those to the NCAA Div. I level.
Each of the five teams took a different path to the RBC Cup and there is a look below at how each of them qualified plus their regular season and playoff totals. There is also a few notes on each club on notable players, coaches and draft prospects.
Steinbach Pistons (MJHL):
Regular Season: 60 GP (48-8-2-2) 100 points
Playoffs: 16 GP (12W-4L)
Qualified for the RBC Cup by winning the best-of-seven ANAVET Cup. Beat the SJHL’s Nipawin Hawks in six games.
Had three separate 10-game winning streaks this season. Ranked numerous times in the Top 5 CJHL rankings.
Goalie Matthew Thiessen is listed by NHL Central Scouting, No. 4 among North American goalies. Adam Worrad was named ANAVET Cup MVP. Piston forward Daniel McKitrick has RBC Cup experience, winning the Junior A championship last year with Cobourg (Ont) Cougars. Pistons’ captain Braden Purtill also has big-stage experience, playing in the Memorial Cup with Red Deer Rebels in 2016.
Coming into the RBC Cup, Pistons have played a total of 87 games.
Manitoba last won the RBC Cup back in 2015 when host Portage Terriers brought home the title.
Chilliwack Chiefs (Host – BCHL)
Regular Season: 58 GP (26-26-3-3) 58 points
Playoffs: 7 GP (3W-4L) Lost in the BCHL first round to the Prince George Spruce Kings
Qualified for RBC Cup as host team
Forward Skyler Brind’Amour is a 2017 Edmonton Oilers draft pick and the son of recently named Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour
The Chiefs made a coaching change May 3, promoting assistant coach and former Chiefs standout Brian Maloney in place of Jason Tatarnic who had been head coach since 2014. The Chiefs have also brought on former Trail Smoke Eaters head coach Cam Keith as an assistant. Keith coached Trail to the Interior Division finals in April.
Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL):
Regular Season: 62 GP (46-9-2) 99 points
Playoffs: 18 GP (12W-6L) Beat the Carleton Place Canadians 4-1 in the CCHL final
Qualified for RBC Cup by going 4-0 in the four-team Fred Page Cup tournament between the CCHL, LHJQ and MHL plus host. Ottawa beat College Franҁais Longueuil 10-1 in the clinching game.
Forward Ethan Manderville is listed by NHL Central Scouting, No. 165 among North American skaters. He is the son of former NHLer Kent Manderville
Wellington Dukes (OJHL):
Regular season: 54 GP (33-13-3-5) 74 points
Playoffs: 25 GP (16W-9L)
Qualified for the RBC Cup by winning the four-team Dudley-Hewitt Cup tournament between the SIJHL, NOJHL and OJHL. Wellington beat the SIJHL’s Dryden Ice Dogs 7-4 in the clinching game.
Wellington’s head coach is former Washington Capitals playoff scoring hero John Druce. He won the RBC Cup last year as head coach of the Coburg Cougars but was replaced midseason and subsequently joined the Dukes. In 1990, Druce cemented his name in Caps lore, scoring 14 goals in 15 playoff games
Defenceman Mason Snell is listed by NHL Central Scouting, No. 173 among North American skaters
Defenceman Declan Carlile is listed by NHL Central Scouting, No. 176 among North American skaters
In the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, the Dukes played games on five consecutive days after losing to host Dryden in their first game
Wenatchee Wild (BCHL):
Regular Season: 58 GP (37-16-4-1) 79 points
Playoffs: 20 GP (16W-4L)
Qualified for the RBC Cup by winning the best-of-seven Doyle Cup. Wenatchee beat the AJHL’s Spruce Grove Saints in five games.
Wenatchee is the second U.S.-based team to compete for the RBC Cup. The Minnesota Wilderness, then of the SIJHL, competed in the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I.
Defenceman Slava Demin is the highest-rated prospect on the NHL Central Scouting list at the RBC Cup, No. 40 among North American skaters
Forward Jasper Weatherby is No. 198 among North American skaters
Forward Sam Morton is No. 212 among North American skaters
Wenatchee went 11-0 on home ice during the BCHL playoffs (13-0 including the Doyle Cup)