Things are finally coming to a head for the junior hockey league season, as the champions of each respective Canadian Hockey League will come together for the 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup beginning this Friday in London, Ontario — and two Buffalo Sabres prospects will be participating.
The tournament also features several prospects for the upcoming NHL draft as well as players who have been drafted in the past few years by other NHL clubs, including (among others) Toronto, Detroit and Montreal.
The Memorial Cup features a round-robin tournament format with four teams: the champions of the WHL, OHL and QMJHL, and a host team. If the host team is one of the champions, the runner-up from that league’s championship series becomes the fourth team of the tournament.
This year, the host team is the OHL’s London Knights, which feature a roster including a pair of Buffalo Sabres prospects: defensemen Nikita Zadorov and Brady Austin, selected by the Sabres in 2013 and 2011, respectively. This year’s tournament marks the third straight Memorial Cup appearance for the Knights, but it’s the first of those three that they enter without the title of OHL champion.
The Guelph Storm, Ontario Hockey League champions, will be the other OHL team participating in the tournament. In addition, the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League and the Val-d’Or Foreurs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will participate in this year’s Memorial Cup.
The 2014 Mastercard Memorial Cup begins May 16 in London, Ontario, and continues until May 25.