It may be two years away, but the Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs already know they'll be competing in the 2013 Dudley Hewitt Cup, and they'll even have home ice advantage.
The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League (NOJHL) board named the Cubs as hosts for the central regional junior A championships during the NOJHL's Annual General Meeting held over the weekend.
The central region encompasses the Ontario Junior Hockey League, the NOJHL and the Superior International Junior Hockey League.
“Every third year, the NOJHL gets the opportunity to host the event, and we felt at this time that we'd put our name in,” Cubs head coach Bryan Verreault said. “It was us and North Bay, and they hosted it not too long ago, so the board felt it was time for Sudbury to host it again.”
The tournament hasn't been hosted in Greater Sudbury since 1991. Ironically, it was when the team was still named the Sudbury Cubs. The Sudbury Kal Tire Junior Wolves just recently reverted back to being called the Sudbury Kal Tire Cubs. Verreault said the timing of it all was “a bit unbelievable.”
“As soon as we change names, there's an opportunity to host this event,” he said. “It will bring memories, I'm sure, to players, families and volunteers that were involved in 1991. Who knows, there might be some players that played at that time. It's 20 years ago, so there could be some fathers that played in the tournament for the Cubs that have their own son playing in it now.”
The Cubs last played in the Dudley Hewitt Cup in 2008. As host, the team is guaranteed a spot in the tournament in 2013, regardless of where they finish in league play. However, Verreault said he's counting on his team earning its spot in championship.
“I feel our team is not going to take the backdoor approach,” he said. “We're going to play and be competitive and be ready to play 2012-13 season to make sure we go in the front door.”
The coach said the wheels are already in motion in getting his team in top form.
“I'm looking forward to a very competitive next two seasons. We're already starting to build for next season... to make sure that we're ready for the Dudley Hewitt Cup here in Sudbury.”