The Memorial Cup

In 1992 the champions of the three leagues which make up the CHL converged on Seattle to compete for the Memorial Cup – the championship of North American junior hockey.  Present were Verdun of the QMJHL, Sault Ste. Marie of the OHL, the Kamloops Blazers of the WHL and the host team, the Seattle Thunderbirds. 

In the opening round, each team plays three games – one against each of the other teams.  After the completion of the first round, Verdun was eliminated from the tournament with an 0-3 record.  Sault Ste. Marie proceeded directly to the tournament finals after compiling a 3-0 record, which left Kamloops (2-1) and Seattle (1-2) to face each other in the semi-finals.

The semi-finals would be a rematch of the WHL Western Division Finals, a hard fought series won by Kamloops in 6 games.  This game would not even be close, as Kamloops ran away with it by a score of 8-3 and moved on to the finals against Sault Ste. Marie.

The finals would prove to be a great game.  Kamloops jumped out to a 3-0 by the 15:00 mark of the first period, but Sault Ste. Marie rallied with two goals 45 seconds apart late in the period to bring the score within one at the first intermission.  The Greyhounds scored the only goal of the second period, and the teams entered the third tied at 3-3.

Kamloops scored early in the third, but Sault Ste. Marie tied it at 4-4 with a goal with less than five minutes remaining.  The final blow would be struck by Kamloops, as Zac Boyer scored on a breakaway with only 15 seconds remaining in the game to give Kamloops the 5-4 win and the 1992 Memorial Cup.

Seattle was outscored in four games by an 18-12 margin, and the Thunderbirds only win came against Verdun in the first game of the tournament by a score of 5-3.  George Zajankala led the team in scoring with three goals and one assist, with two of his goals coming in the first game.  Turner Stevenson would be named to the Tournament All-Star Team. 

Five players from this Thunderbirds team would go on to play in the NHL – Chris Osgood (Detroit and New York Islanders), Turner Stevenson (Montreal and New Jersey), Mike Kennedy (Dallas), Chris Wells (Florida and Pittsburgh) and Brendan Witt (Washington). 


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