The 2008 Mastercard CHL Memorial Cup tournament starts this weekend in Kitchener, Ontario, and I am looking forward to some amazing major junior hockey games. Kitchener, the host town for the event, is an excellent junior hockey town, and they support their team as well as any other CHL town in the country. Along with the hometown Rangers, Kitchener will welcome the OHL finalist in the Belleville Bulls, the WHL champions in the Spokane Chiefs, and the QMJHL champions in the Gatineau Olympiques. The top two teams in the CHL are represented, while a dark horse from Quebec joins the party. Let's take a look at these great teams.
Personally, this is anyone's tournament. Gatineau is playing extremely well; Spokane is looking to build on their fabulous run through the WHL; Belleville would like to stick it to Kitchener by winning the Memorial Cup in Kitchener after losing the OHL final; and Kitchener has a ton of pride to play for, and a Memorial Cup to win.
My prediction? I'm going with Kitchener. Three of the last four Memorial Cup champions were the host team, and the Rangers are, statistically, the best team in the CHL. Will I be right? Only time will tell.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!