After losing out on hosting a national hockey championship in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Membertou First Nation in Nova Scotia will have another chance to host the Telus Cup this year.
The under-18 tournament attracts five of the country’s top hockey teams and a host team, who compete in a week-long tournament. This year’s tournament will take place from April 22-28, with the Sydney Rush as the home team.
Since its inception in 1974, the tournament has seen players like Sidney Crosby, Chris Letang, Jordan Eberle and other NHL stars compete for the national title.
This year’s event marks the first Hockey Canada event hosted in partnership with an Indigenous community.
“Membertou has become a place where people really want to come, which is a good thing,” said Chief Terry Paul.
Paul said the community is eager to host the championship, saying Membertou and surrounding communities will benefit from an economic boost of approximately $1.3 million.
“All of our businesses and facilities are being used, so the impact is being felt,” Paul said.
Atlantic Canadian teams have already won
Sydney Rush head coach Chris Culligan said the team hasn’t played to their full potential this season, going 8-20-5, but he believes a finish to the regular season strength and strong local support could elevate the team to contender status.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a little stressful at first and there will be a lot of nerves,” he said. “It’s just not something you experience all the time, so you have to embrace it.”
Atlantic Canadian teams have won the tournament twice in the tournament’s 49-year history. The Moncton Flyers won the 2022 tournament in Okotoks, Alberta, while the Cape Breton West Islanders lifted the trophy in 2017 in Prince George, British Columbia.