Tournament field now set for 2023 Memorial Cup
The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is excited to announce that the field for the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia is now complete. In addition to the host Kamloops Blazers, the 103rd edition of the Memorial Cup, which is taking place from May 25 – June 4 in Kamloops, British Columbia, will feature the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and the Québec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
The latter three teams punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup by winning their respective league titles. The first game of the 2023 Memorial Cup is set for this Friday, May 26 at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT between the host Blazers and Québec Remparts. The complete schedule for the 2023 Memorial Cup can be found below.
For the Seattle Thunderbirds, this year’s tournament will mark just the third time in their history that they have played at a Memorial Cup. The Thunderbirds accomplished the feat by winning their second Ed Chynoweth Cup in team history, and their first since 2017, by defeating the Winnipeg ICE 4-1 in the WHL Championship Series presented by Nutrien. Featuring 10 NHL prospects, Seattle continues to be paced in scoring by Arizona Coyotes 2021 first-round selection Dylan Guenther (16G, 12A), whose 16 goals this postseason are the most among any skater in the CHL. Seattle’s success can also be attributed to the strong play of their netminder, Thomas Milic, this season’s WHL Goaltender of the Year. Named the 2023 WHL Playoff MVP, Milic has posted a 1.95 GAA and .933 SV% in 19 games this postseason — the best of any WHL goaltender in the playoffs let alone of any netminder who’ll be competing in this year’s Memorial Cup. In their two previous appearances at a Memorial Cup, Seattle’s best result came in 1992 when as hosts they lost in the semi-final to Kamloops 8-3.
Meanwhile, the Peterborough Petes hoisted the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the first time in 17 years after edging the London Knights 4-2 in the OHL Championship Series. The victory provided the Petes with their 10th OHL title in franchise history, which places them second behind only the Oshawa Generals (13). As the oldest continuously operating team in the OHL, having been in existence since 1956, the Petes will be making their 10th appearance at the Memorial Cup. In their long history, Peterborough has just one Memorial Cup championship trophy to their name, which came in 1979 with a Petes team highlighted by Hall of Fame defenceman Larry Murphy. With eight NHL draft prospects on their current roster, this year’s edition of the Petes will be seeking to earn their first Memorial Cup title in 44 years. During the postseason, Peterborough has been led by New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann (8G, 17A), Seattle Kraken prospect Tucker Robertson (9G, 13A), and two-time OHL champion Avery Hayes (12G, 7A). Petes goalie Michael Simpson, who posted a 2.80 GAA and .918 SV% during the postseason, took home the Wayne Gretzky 99 award as the OHL Playoffs MVP.
In the QMJHL, the Québec Remparts bested the Halifax Mooseheads in six games to lift their first league title in 47 years — making them also the first to ever hoist the Gilles-Courteau Trophy under its new name. Previously known as the President Cup, the QMJHL championship title was renamed in honour of the league’s former commissioner Gilles Courteau last December. Over their last 26 games, the Remparts have won 24 of them and posted a 16-2 record this postseason. The 2023 Memorial Cup will represent the eighth appearance for Québec at this prestigious tournament, and their first since 2015, when as hosts they lost in the semi-final to the Kelowna Rockets. Leading them into this 103rd edition of the Memorial Cup will be Carolina Hurricanes prospect Justin Robidas (11G, 16A), Columbus Blue Jackets prospect James Malatesta (14G, 6A), captain Théo Rochette (4G, 17A) and St. Louis Blues prospect Zachary Bolduc (11G, 8A) — who this season became just the sixth player since 2000 to record consecutive 50-goal campaigns in the QMJHL (the others are Sidney Crosby, Maxime Boiclair, Dany Roussin, Brent Aubin & Anthony Mantha). Malatesta, who scored a QMJHL-leading 14 goals this postseason, was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the MVP of the QMJHL playoffs. Holding seven NHL prospects on its roster, Québec comes into Kamloops looking for its third Memorial Cup trophy and its first since 2006. During that event 17 years, by leading Québec to the title, current Remparts head coach Patrick Roy became the seventh coach to win this event in his rookie year behind the bench, and the first to do so since Claude Julien accomplished the feat with the Hull Olympiques in 1997.
Rounding out the field of four teams will be the host Kamloops Blazers, who finished this season with the third-best record in the WHL before ultimately falling in the playoffs to the Seattle Thunderbirds in six games during the WHL’s Western Conference Championship presented by Nutrien. The Blazers have a rich history with the Memorial Cup, having won three CHL championship titles (1992, 1994 & 1995) in six appearances at the tournament. Kamloops’ aim of winning a fourth Memorial Cup will no doubt be led by last year’s CHL David Branch Player of the Year and Dallas Stars prospect Logan Stankoven, whose 30 points (10G, 20A) this postseason are the most among any skater in the WHL. With nine NHL prospects in their lineup, the Blazers are also bolstered by WHL Defenceman of the Year and Anaheim Ducks 2021 second-round pick Olen Zellweger (11G, 18A), Dallas Stars 2022 sixth-round selection Matthew Seminoff (10G, 9A) and Minnesota Wild 2021 third-round pick Caedan Bankier (7G, 11A). The last time that Kamloops hosted the Memorial Cup was 1995, which also happens to be when they last won this tournament with a Blazers team that featured Shane Doan, Jarome Iginla, and Darcy Tucker.
All 2023 Memorial Cup games will be broadcasted in Canada on TSN and RDS. Games will also be available in the United States on the NHL Network and for subscribers of CHL TV outside of North America. A very limited supply of tickets for the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, including for single games of the tournament, are available for purchase here.
Round-Robin – Game 1 – Friday, May 26 – Québec vs. Kamloops (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 2 – Saturday, May 27 – Seattle vs. Peterborough (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 3 – Sunday, May 28 – Kamloops vs. Peterborough (6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 4 – Monday, May 29 – Seattle vs. Québec (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 5 – Tuesday, May 30 – Peterborough vs. Québec (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Round-Robin – Game 6 – Wednesday, May 31 – Kamloops vs. Seattle (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Tie-Breaker (*if necessary) – Thursday, June 1 (9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT)
Semi-Final – Friday, June 2 (10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT)
Final – Sunday, June 4 (7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT)
The Memorial Cup pits the playoff champion from the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), along with the host club, in a four-team round-robin tournament to determine the champion of the CHL.
Since being awarded for the first time 104 years ago, the Memorial Cup has developed a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America — becoming one of the most coveted trophies in the sport. Originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and donated by the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) in March 1919, this trophy was created in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in the First World War. It was later rededicated in 2010 to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel.
Since the tournament adopted its current round-robin format in 1972, teams from the WHL have won the most Memorial Cup titles with a total of 19 — highlighted by a franchise record five by the New Westminster Bruins / Kamloops Blazers (1977, 1978, 1992, 1994 & 1995). The WHL’s most recent winner was the 2013-14 Edmonton Oil Kings. Within the last 51 years, OHL clubs have raised this prestigious trophy on 17 different occasions, with the last being the Windsor Spitfires in 2017. The QMJHL have celebrated 13 titles during that stretch, including each of the last three Memorial Cups (2018 – Acadie-Bathurst Titan, 2019 — Rouyn Noranda Huskies, 2022 — Saint John Sea Dogs).
The 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia is supported by Kia Canada along with associate sponsors BetRivers, Real Canadian Superstore, and Kubota. For more information please visit chlmemorialcup.ca.