While winning four straight Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders, future Hall of Famer Clark Gillies loved to taunt his teammates about his earlier championship as a junior hockey player.
“Hey,” Gillies would say inside the Islanders’ locker room, “how many guys in here have also won a Memorial Cup? C’mon, anybody?”
Gillies believed, because of junior hockey’s age restrictions and the greater number of teams, it was tougher to win a Memorial Cup than a Stanley Cup. He won the 1974 Memorial Cup with the Regina Pats, on a team featuring Dennis Sobchuk, Ed Staniowski and Greg Joly, before joining the Islanders.
Although the Pats qualified for the 1980 Memorial Cup and were the host team in 2001, they haven’t won a Memorial Cup since 1974. They get another opportunity, starting tonight, as the host squad. Swift Current, Hamilton and Acadie-Bathurst are the other challengers.
We can quibble about the legitimacy of having a host team challenge for a Memorial Cup, but the Pats just want to end the drought.