Familiar foes in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Halifax Mooseheads will play for the CHL crown on Sunday at the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia.
It marks the first time since 2006 – and just the second occurrence in league history – where two clubs who played for the President’s Cup will rematch in the year-end tournament. That year saw the Moncton Wildcats take the QMJHL championship in six games, only for the runner-up Quebec Remparts to turn the tables against the host squad to hoist the Memorial Cup.
Fans of the host Mooseheads hope for a similar outcome Sunday after Halifax fell in six games to the first-place Huskies in the QMJHL Final, with the club in search of its franchise-second CHL title and the Huskies hoping to win it all in their second try in four years.
Looking back to 2006, the Remparts, guided by NHL legend Patrick Roy, finished second place in the league standings, one point behind Moncton, with the club then putting together a 12-5 playoff showing to eliminate the Val-d’Or Foreurs, Shawinigan Cataractes, and Acadie-Bathurst Titan before running into the Wildcats.
Still, in simply advancing to the final, the Remparts punched their ticket to the Memorial Cup, alongside the Wildcats, as well as the WHL’s Vancouver Giants and OHL’s Peterborough Petes. Led by future first-round pick and current Dallas Stars forward Alexander Radulov, who topped the QMJHL that season with an eye-popping 152 points – 17 more than the next highest scorer – the Remparts came first in the round robin after putting together a 2-1 record and outpacing the Wildcats in goal differential to earn a bye into the championship final.
There, the Remparts were reacquainted with the Wildcats, who ousted the Giants in the semi-final two nights prior. Quebec dropped all three of its road games at the Moncton Coliseum during the QMJHL playoffs, but a win in the host barn in the round robin gave the Remparts hope that a different outcome was possible.
In the first all-QMJHL final in Memorial Cup history, the Remparts upset the Wildcats in coming away with a 6-2 victory in which an incredible five-point effort by Radulov, who tallied two goals and added a trio of assist, powered his club to victory as he also claimed the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the MVP of the 2006 Memorial Cup.
“We just worked so hard for this,” Radulov said following the victory. “I think it’s better to win the Memorial Cup. All these guys … they are the heroes. The Remparts are heroes.”
And on Sunday, a new group of heroes will be born in the conclusion of the second-ever all-QMJHL edition of the Memorial Cup.