Petes primed for CHL record ninth Memorial Cup tournament appearance
No Canadian Hockey League franchise has competed at the Memorial Cup tournament more than the Peterborough Petes.
Since the inauguration of the current tournament format in 1972, the Peterborough Petes have made a total of eight appearances, with their ninth coming this week in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The longest continuously operating franchise in the CHL, the Petes have developed the likes of Steve Yzerman, Bob Gainey, Chris Pronger, Larry Murphy and the list goes on. For all their Memorial Cup experience, the Petes have only managed to come out on top once in their history, something they’ll look to build upon at this year’s event as they go up against the WHL champion Seattle Thunderbirds, QMJHL champion Quebec Remparts and tournament host Kamloops Blazers.
Here’s a snapshot of Peterborough’s past experiences at the Memorial Cup presented by Kia:
2006 – Moncton, NB – 4th Place Finish
A Petes team that marched to an OHL championship, unseating the reigning J. Ross Robertson Cup champion London Knights in a four-game sweep, Peterborough got off to a strong start in Moncton with a 3-2 victory over the QMJHL finalist Quebec Remparts. It was an uphill climb from there however as Peterborough lost on consecutive nights, dropping a 4-2 decision against the host Moncton Wildcats before losing 3-2 to the WHL champion Vancouver Giants. The Petes met their demise in the tie-breaker game, coming out flat in a 6-0 loss to Vancouver. The 2006 Petes were coached by franchise coaching legend Dick Todd and featured prominent names in Jordan Staal, Steve Downie, Daniel Ryder, Patrick Kaleta and captain Jamie Tardif. The Patrick Roy-coached Quebec Remparts would go on to win in 2006.
– More on the 2006 Memorial Cup
1996 – Peterborough, ON – 2nd Place Finish
It was heartbreak on home ice for the Petes in 1996, who hosted as champions following Mike Martone’s overtime heroics in an 8-7 Game 7 OHL Championship win over the Guelph Storm. The Petes scored a 6-3 win over the QMJHL’s Granby Predateurs to open the tournament, knocking Granby down a notch after they bludgeoned Guelph 8-0 two days prior. The Petes would fall 3-2 in overtime a day later as Peter Schaefer lifted the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings to victory. With a 1-1 record, Peterborough sent the Storm packing once and for all with a 2-1 win to round-out the round robin before besting Brandon 4-3 in the semi-final. Try as they might, the Petes couldn’t solve Frederic Deschenes in the Championship Final as Granby took a 4-0 win and hoisted the Memorial Cup at the PMC, becoming the first Quebec-based team to win since 1971.
– More on the 1996 Memorial Cup
1993 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON – 2nd Place Finish
The last chapter of an epic clash between OHL foes came down to the Championship Final of the 1993 Memorial Cup at the Soo Memorial Gardens. The Petes and Greyhounds, winners of each of the OHL’s two divisions during the regular season, played for the right to host the 1993 tournament, with Ted Nolan’s Greyhounds taking a clean sweep in four games. The Petes, who had responded by defeating the Greyhounds in the OHL Championship, defeated Laval and Swift Current before falling 7-3 to the Greyhounds in the round robin finale. The Petes defeated Laval a second time in the semi-final to set up one last date against Sault Ste. Marie for all the marbles. The Hounds would prevail 4-2 in front of a jam-packed Memorial Gardens, giving Sault Ste. Marie its first-ever Memorial Cup title – the only one the Hounds have won to this day. It was a crushing loss for the Petes, who peppered Greyhounds goaltender Kevin Hodson with 47 shots. The Petes were coached by the great Dick Todd and featured franchise cornerstones in blueliner Chris Pronger along with prolific scorers Mike Harding and Jason Dawe up front.
– More on the 1993 Memorial Cup
1989 – Saskatoon, SK – 3rd Place Finish
A Petes team starring 16-year-old 54-goal scorer Mike Ricci emerged as OHL Champions in 1989, besting the Niagara Falls Thunder in six games to capture the J. Ross Robertson Cup. The Petes, a team that included current-day head coach Rob Wilson who was a 20-year-old blueliner, headed west to Saskatoon where they’d open the tournament with a 6-4 loss to the WHL champion Swift Current Broncos. The Petes rallied to defeat the host Saskatoon Blades 3-2 in their second outing, lost to the Laval Titan 3-1 two days later before turning the tables on Laval in the tie-breaker game, skating into the semi-final with a 5-4 win. The Petes were now match for Swift Current, falling 6-2 in the semis to see their season come to an end. Swift Current would go on to defeat Saskatoon 4-3 in overtime to be crowned Memorial Cup champs in 1989.
– More on the 1989 Memorial Cup
1980 – Regina, SK and Brandon, MB – 2nd Place Finish
The 1980 Peterborough Petes swept the Windsor Spitfires to be crowned J. Ross Robertson Cup champions in 1980, advancing to the Memorial Cup for a third straight year. The Petes featured a brilliant young blueliner in Larry Murphy and were coached by future NHL bench boss Mike Keenan. The Petes opened the highly controversial 1980 tournament with a 5-4 overtime victory over the WHL champion Regina Pats before defeating the QMJHL representative Cornwall Royals 8-6. A game that has gone down as one of the more controversial in tournament history, the Petes faced Cornwall to close-out the round robin and lost the contest 5-4, resulting in Regina’s elimination from the tournament. It was alleged that the Petes purposely lost the game in order to set up a second matchup against Cornwall, a team perceived to be weaker, in the Championship Final. Peterborough brass denied those allegations, and nothing was ever proven. If the 1980 Petes did intend to align against Cornwall in the Finals, the rollout did not go as planned as the Royals won 3-2 on an OT winner by defenceman Robert Savard, who to this day remains one of four players to ever win three different Memorial Cup titles (joining former Kamloops Blazers Darcy Tucker, Ryan Huska and Tyson Nash). The Petes, who had won the Memorial Cup in 1979, passed the torch to future Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk and the Royals, who won in both 1980 and 1981.
– More on the 1980 Memorial Cup
1979 – Trois-Rivieres, Sherbrooke and Verdun, QC – Memorial Cup Champions
The Petes’ finest hour came in 1979, advancing to the Memorial Cup following a seven-game grind to defeat the Niagara Falls Flyers for the J. Ross Robertson Cup. The Petes fell to the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs 4-3 on opening night, rebounding to defeat the WHL champion Brandon Wheat Kings 7-6 in overtime two nights later. The Petes exacted vengeance on Trois-Rivieres the next day, winning 3-2 to improve to 2-1 heading into a round robin finale clash against Brandon where the Wheat Kings edged the Petes 3-2. The Petes and Wheat Kings were left standing headed into the Championship Final, a rematch from the one-goal outcome just two days prior. Bob Attwell remains a prominent figure in Petes history today for his overtime-winner to give the franchise its first and only Memorial Cup title in a 2-1 outcome. The 1979 Petes were coached by Gary Green and featured key contributors in Tim Trimper, Bill Gardner and Chris Halyk up front while Greg Theberge, Larry Murphy and Jim Wiemer carried the load on the blue line.
– More on the 1979 Memorial Cup
1978 – Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, ON – 2nd Place Finish
The start of a Petes dynasty, the maroon and white defeated the Hamilton Fincups in seven games to win their first of three straight J. Ross Robertson Cup titles. The Petes headed north for the tournament and fell to Trois-Rivieres on opening night by a score of 5-2. They’d come back strong to defeat the WHL champion New Westminster Bruins 7-2 a night later before settling the score with Trois-Rivieres two days later, winning 4-0. The Petes beat New Westminster a second time, prevailing 4-3 in overtime to punch their ticket to the Finals where they’d have to beat the Bruins a third time to win it all. Unfortunately, the third time was not a charm for the Petes, who lost the Championship Final 7-4 to a New Westminster squad led by Stan Smyl that was coming off its fourth consecutive West title. The Petes would settle for second in 1978, beginning a run of three straight trips to the national championship.
– More on the 1978 Memorial Cup
1972 – Ottawa, ON – 2nd Place Finish
The Petes were part of the first-ever Memorial Cup tournament, a three-team affair that also included the Edmonton Oil Kings and Cornwall Royals that was held in the nation’s capital. The Petes were J. Ross Robertson Cup champions in 1972 under head coach Roger Neilson, sweeping the Ottawa 67’s to be crowned Ontario champs. A team that consisted of top scorer Doug Gibson, eventual NHL forward Ron Lalonde and long-time NHL fixture Colin Campbell on the blueline, the Petes defeated Cornwall 4-2 in the tournament-opener, following that up with a 6-4 victory over Edmonton. The Petes would meet Cornwall in the final, falling by a score of 2-1 as the Royals, coached by the great Orval Tessier, were inaugural tournament champions.
– More on the 1972 Memorial Cup
1959 – lost to Winnipeg Braves
Not to be overlooked, the Peterborough TPT Petes reached the Memorial Cup Championship in 1959, falling to the Winnipeg Braves in five games. Peterborough was coached by a 26-year-old Scotty Bowman as he guided the Petes all the way to the final in just their third season since relocating from Kitchener.
– More on the 1959 Memorial Cup