Vees set for RBC Cup opener

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The final stage in the quest for Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) supremacy starts up Saturday in Cobourg, Ont. as the host Cougars welcome the Penticton Vees, Cobras de Terrebonne, Brooks Bandits and Trenton Golden Hawks.
The Vees qualified for the national championship tournament as the second qualifier from the Western Canada Cup which they hosted last week at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The Vees last played in the RBC Cup in 2015 when they lost in the semifinals to the Carleton Place Canadians. They are coached by Fred Harbinson and captained by centre and North Dakota commit Nic Jones.
The Cougars qualified as host of the event but were eliminated from the Ontario Junior Hockey League playoffs by Trenton in the third round. They are coached by former Washington Capitals playoff hero John Druce and their general manager is former Vancouver Canucks draft pick Brent Tully. The Cougars are captained by forward Josh Maguire who is committed to the Ontario Institute of Technology of USports.
The Trenton Golden Hawks qualified for the RBC Cup after emerging from the Dudley Hewitt Cup which also featured the Powassan Voodoos, Georgetown Raiders and Dryden Ice Dogs. They are coached by former NHLer and Chicago Blackhawks first-round pick Jerome Dupont. The Golden Hawks played in last year’s RBC Cup in Lloydminster, Alta. They are captained by defenceman Josh Allan who is committed to NCAA Div. I Sacred Heart University for next season.

Les Cobras de Terrebonne qualified for the RBC Cup by beating the Carleton Place Canadians in the final of the eastern Fred Page Cup which features teams from the Junior A leagues of the Maritimes, Quebec and the Central Canada Hockey League. Terrebonne is coached by Robert Dubuc and were led in scoring this season by Benjamin Bohemier who will play pro hockey France second division Nantes next season.

The Brooks Bandits won the Western Canada Cup in Penticton last weekend to qualify as the top seed out of the west. They played in last year’s RBC Cup but lost in the semifinals to West Kelowna. Brooks won the national title in the 2013 tournament in Summerside, PEI. Brooks is coached by Ryan Papaioannou and feature projected top-10 NHL draft pick Cale Makar on defence. Makar was named Friday the recipient of the CJHL’s Top Defenceman Award.

Penticton opens round-robin play Sunday against Brooks.

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