Memorial Cup capsules: A look at the four teams vying for junior hockey's big prize

A chance to be at the pinnacle of junior hockey is at stake for four impressive teams.

Here’s a look at the squads competing for the Memorial Cup from Friday to June 2:

Saginaw Spirit, Host

The Spirit enjoyed a historic season in 2023-24, being one of four teams in the Canadian Hockey League to win 50 games en route to crossing the 100-point plateau for the first time in the team’s 22-year history with 102.

Saginaw reached the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference finals for the second time before ultimately falling in six games to eventual champion London. However, the Spirit were the only team to beat the Knights throughout the OHL playoffs.

Led by 2024 NHL prospect and blue liner Zayne Parekh, who paced the team and all CHL defencemen in scoring during the regular season (33 goals, 63 assists), the Spirit aim to be the third team to win the event on home ice in the last six tournaments.

London Knights, Ontario Hockey League champion

The Knights will be making their sixth appearance in the tournament, all of which have come since 2005. No team has participated in more Memorial Cups over the last 20 years. London has its sights set on a third Memorial Cup trophy after streamrolling its way to a fifth OHL title last Wednesday.

The Knights went 16-2 in the OHL post-season, capping off their run with a sweep of the Oshawa Generals. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Easton Cowan has led the charge, earning the Wayne Gretzky 99 Award as OHL playoff MVP after also winning the regular-season MVP award.

Cowan had 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists) across 18 post-season games.

Moose Jaw Warriors, Western Hockey League champion

The Warriors are another newcomer onto the scene. They claimed their first-ever Ed Chynoweth Cup by sweeping the Portland Winterhawks after advancing to their first WHL final in 18 years.

Moose Jaw is led by WHL player of the year Jagger Firkus, who paced the league in regular-season (126 points) and post-season (32 points) scoring. Teammate Denton Mateychuk was the playoff MVP after leading the league in assists (19) and being second in points (30).

The Warriors will look to be the eighth team to win a Memorial Cup in its first appearance at the tournament, and first since the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2011.

Drummondville Voltigeurs, Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League champion

The Voltigeurs are making their first trip to the dance in 15 years after winning their first conference title since 2009. Now they’re seeking their first-ever Memorial Cup title in their fourth appearance.

Drummondville was one of eight teams in the CHL to top the 100-point plateau this season, having achieved the feat for only the fourth time in team history.

The Voltigeurs went 16-3 in the QMJHL post-season, capping their run with a sweep of the top-seeded Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Buffalo Sabres prospect Vsevolod Komarov (five goals, 15 points) was awarded the Guy-Lafleur Trophy as playoff MVP, becoming the sixth defenceman in QMJHL history to win the award.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press