1984 – Ottawa 67’s
When the 1984 Memorial Cup tournament opened in Kitchener’s Memorial Auditorium, all eyes were on centre Mario Lemieux of the Laval Voisins.
Dubbed Super Mario, he had won the QMJHL scoring title with 282 points, including 133 goals, in 70 games. He added 52 points, 29 of them goals, in 14 playoff games.
“It will be the 66th Memorial Cup and I hope our No. 66 will continue his output of the regular season and playoffs,” Laval head coach Jean Begin said.
It would be up to the Kamloops Junior Oilers, Ottawa 67’s and host Rangers to try to stop him.
Kitchener opened the tournament on May 12 by hanging an 8-2 whipping on Laval as Lemieux was held pointless for just the third time in 85 games. The Rangers got two goals each from Brian Wilks and Carmine Vani.
The Rangers made it two in a row on May 13, clinching at least a semifinal berth, as they took an 8-0 lead and hung on to beat Kamloops, 9-7.
Also on May 13, Ottawa clinched at least a semifinal berth by beating Laval, 6-5. This time, Lemieux had a goal and an assist.
“Everybody has been talking about how I didn’t give a good performance last night, so I had to play very well tonight,” Lemieux said.
One night later, Brian Kilrea’s 67’s beat Kamloops, 5-1.
“We had trouble penetrating and you know half our team can’t drive and the other half can’t shoot,” Kamloops head coach Bill LaForge said.
Kamloops, with one foot in the grave, bounced back to edge Laval, 4-3, on May 15. The loss put Kamloops into a semifinal and eliminated Laval. Lemieux had one assist in his final junior game. He finished with a goal and two assists in three games.
On May 16, Kitchener beat Ottawa, 7-2, to move into the final and send the ’67s against Kamloops. Wilks led the Rangers with his fifth and sixth goals of the tournament.
On May 17, the ’67s got two goals and three assists from Adam Creighton, the tournament MVP, in a 7-2 victory over the Junior Oilers.
“We’ve played 103 games this season and there haven’t been many when the guys didn’t go all out,” said LaForge, who was named head coach of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks the following day. “The ’67s and Rangers are just better than us.”
That result set up yet another meeting between the Rangers and 67’s. They had played each other 10 times in the season, each winning four and tying two others.
Ottawa went on to win its first Memorial Cup, scoring a 7-2 victory on May 22. The 67’s got two goals each from Bruce Cassidy and Phil Patterson.
Attendance for the eight games totalled 53,207, the third-largest behind Vancouver in 1977 (58,995) and Portland in 1983 (54,090).
1984 Ottawa 67’s:
Richard Adolfi, Bill Bennett, Bruce Cassidy, Todd Clarke, Greg Coram, Adam Creighton, Bob Giffin, Scott Hammond, John Hanna, Tim Helmer, Mike James, Steve Hrynewich, Don McLaren, Roy Myllari, Darren Pang, Mark Paterson, Phil Patterson, Gary Roberts, Darcy Roy, Brad Shaw, Steve Simoni, Brian Kilrea (general manager and coach)
NHL: Roberts recorded 909 NHL points and won the Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames in 1989 during his NHL career. Kilrea both played and coached in the NHL but it was his junior hockey coaching career that earned him a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.