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Road to the 2019 TELUS Cup: Thunder Bay Kings
The hosts hope their regular-season results and regional run mean momentum on the national stage
Jason La Rose
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April 20, 2019
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They didn’t get the regional title they wanted, but the confidence the Thunder Bay Kings gained might be just as important when they welcome the best in the nation to northwestern Ontario.

Already assured of a place at the TELUS Cup as host team, the West Regional was little more than a warm-up for the Kings, who got a somewhat stress-free opportunity to measure themselves against potential competition.

All Thunder Bay did was score late to eliminate the defending national champions from Notre Dame in the preliminary round, and push Tisdale to overtime in the regional final.

Now it’s on to the big tournament.

The Kings are the only team among the 146 eligible for the TELUS Cup who do not play in a Midget league in Canada. Instead, they plied their trade this season in the North American Prospects Hockey League, facing off against teams from St. Louis, Sioux Falls, Everett, Nashville and Colorado Springs, among others.

A 13-6-1 team during the regular season, Thunder Bay put it together in the playoffs, winning all five of its games to claim the Dixon Cup as NAPHL 18U champions.

Next up was the Hockey Northwestern Ontario playdowns; a three-game sweep of the Kenora Thistles booked their spot at the West Regional in Tisdale, the final stop on the Road to the TELUS Cup.

The Kings are back at the tournament for the first time since a run from 1995 to 1997, when they became just the second team to appear in the gold medal game in in three consecutive years (gold in 1995 and 1997, silver in 1996).

HOW THEY GOT TO THUNDER BAY

Hockey Northwestern Ontario
Final: defeated Kenora 3-0 (5-4 OT, 4-1, 3-1)

West Regional
Preliminary round: 1-1-1 – second place (lost to Tisdale 3-1, defeated Brandon 5-4, tied Notre Dame 1-1)
Championship game: lost to Tisdale 6-5 OT

REGULAR SEASON (NAPHL)

Record (W-L-OTL): 13-6-1 (3rd in NAPHL)
Goals for: 69 (1st in NAPHL)
Goals against: 34 (T-3rd in NAPHL)
Longest winning streak: 3 (Oct. 22-Nov. 9)
Top 3 scorers:
- Nikolas Campbell – 13G 13A 26P (2nd in NAPHL)
- Nicholas DeGrazia – 14G 10A 24P (3rd in NAPHL)
- Christian Veneruzzo – 2G 10A 12P (35th in NAPHL)

PLAYOFFS (HNO/WEST REGIONAL)

Record: 4-2-1
Goals for: 24
Goals against: 20
Top 3 scorers:
- Nikolas Campbell – 5G 6A 11P
- Nicholas DeGrazia – 2G 5A 7P
- Travis Hensrud – 2G 5A 7P

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

1975 – Thunder Bay Miners | 7th place | 3-2-1 | 27GF 20GA
1976 – Thunder Bay Lions | 6th place | 3-2-0 | 24GF 18GA
1985 – Thunder Bay Comets | 6th place | 0-5-0 | 7GF 29GA
1988 – Thunder Bay Bearcats | bronze medal | 4-3-0 | 26GF 23GA
1992 – Thunder Bay Kings | silver medal | 4-3-0 | 13GF 20GA
1995 – Thunder Bay Kings | gold medal | 6-0-1 | 24GF 12GA
1996 – Thunder Bay Kings | silver medal | 4-3-0 | 31GF 27GA
1997 – Thunder Bay Kings | gold medal | 6-1-0 | 30GF 16GA

PLAYERS TO WATCH

ANTHONY BINIARIS
very smart with the puck … a minute-muncher … plays in all situations … makes a good first pass … sees the ice well

MACKENZIE SEDGWICK
plays an honest game … deceptive speed … does things the right way … makes things happen … heart-and-soul player

CHRISTIAN VENERUZZO
plays bigger than his size … not afraid to get dirty … scores big goals … motor is always running … loves the front of the net

OHL DRAFTED PLAYERS

Nicholas DeGrazia – Sudbury 2019 (U18 Draft – 1st round, 14th overall)
Alex Pineau – Sudbury 2019 (8th round, 157th overall)
Jordan Smith – Peterborough 2017 (9th round, 180th overall)

For more information:

Vacant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557 

 

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4567 / 905-906-5327 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427 / 403-612-2893 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

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