Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
The annual OHL Cup takes place this week and features 20 of the best Minor Midget AAA teams from across the province. Organized by the Ontario Hockey League, there will be eight teams from the Ontario Minor Hockey Association competing for a gold medal.
Teams from across the OMHA that are playing include the Minor Midget AAA Champion York-Simcoe Express, Barrie Jr. Colts, Oakville Rangers and Guelph Jr. Gryphons. The Quinte Red Devils, Niagara North Stars, Grey-Bruce Highlanders and Peterborough Minor Petes will play in wild card play-in games.
To qualify for the tournament, the top four teams from the OMHA Minor Midget AAA Championships automatically earn spots. The fifth place team (Quinte) earns a wild card spot as does the winner (Grey-Bruce) of the OMHA-SCTA consolation game. In addition, three wild card teams from across Ontario are determined by a selection committee and Niagara and Peterborough were chosen as two of them.
The Express won the tournament in 2016 in a thrilling double-overtime victory. Since switching to the Minor Midget age group format in 2003, other OMHA teams to capture the OHL Cup include the Oakville Rangers (2013), Markham Waxers (2006) and York-Simcoe (2004). The Richmond Hill Stars took home a silver medal in 2004.
The action takes place March 13-19 at Scotiabank Pond in Toronto. You can find more information about the OHL Cup including the schedule and standings here.
Here is a quick breakdown of what to expect from each team at the OHL Cup.
The Jr. Colts were better this season than their fourth place finish at championship weekend indicated. Barrie was up against some tough competition then but it won’t be any different in the OHL Cup. We’ll see what they’ve learned and how they adjust.
This group already has experience in a winner-take-all type of game after earning a wild card spot in a one-game playoff. That’s an important factor as the Highlanders hope to continue pushing ahead and extending their season.
Guelph made a lot of noise and turned plenty of heads by narrowly losing out in the gold medal game. After putting themselves on the map, the Jr. Gryphons must be hungry for more and look to take another step forward.
One of the top Minor Midget teams during the year, the North Stars struggled during playoff qualifying and therefore missed out on an opportunity to compete for a championship. Regrouped, they now have their eyes set on the OHL Cup and can show why they were a serious threat all season.
After settling for a bronze medal, the Rangers no doubt want a better finish at the OHL Cup. There’s a reason they went undefeated during the regular season and their third place finish could simply just be a bump in the road.
This team has always been in the discussion of being a threat in this age group and they can put up a fight against any opponent. How far that ends up taking them remains to be seen but don’t count them out.
The Red Devils gained valuable experience during the OMHA championships and nearly put themselves into medal contention. They showed they can hang in with any opponent. Underestimate them and you’ll be in for a surprise.
The Express proved that they are one of the best Minor Midget teams in the OMHA after capturing the gold medal on championship weekend. They are looking to double their hardware by bringing home the OHL Cup as well.
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