2023 Centennial Cup field set, Bandits to face Mariners, Jr Senators, Rock and Cobras
BROOKS, AB (May 5, 2023) – The Brooks Bandits schedule and opponents at the 2023 Centennial Cup have been finalized as the team competes for their third straight National Championship, and fourth overall.
The seven-time AJHL Champion Bandits will face the Yarmouth Mariners (Maritime Hockey League), Ottawa Jr Senators (Central Canada Hockey League), Timmins Rock (Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League), and Terrebonne Cobras (Quebec Junior Hockey League) in round robin play at the 10-team, 10-day tournament held at Stride Place in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba from May 11 to 21.
Brooks is participating in their sixth National Junior A Championship tournament, following appearances in Summerside, PEI (2013), Lloydminster, SK (2016), Cobourg, ON (2017), Brooks, AB (2019) and Estevan, SK (2022), winning in 2013, 2019 and 2022.
The Bandits are looking to become just the second Junior A franchise to win four National Championships, which would be tied for second all-time.
All the Bandits games will be broadcast live on Real Country 105.7 FM and streamed for free at realcountrybrooks.ca, featuring commentary from Nathan Crosby (Play by Play) and Ken Fleury (Colour).
All the Centennial Cup games will be video streamed on HN Live with the Championship game broadcast on TSN.
Brooks Bandits Preliminary Round Schedule:
All games at 3:30 pm (Central) at Stride Place, Portage la Prairie, MB. *team who finishes first in pool receives bye to Semifinal.
- Thursday, May 11: Brooks vs Yarmouth
- Saturday, May 13: Brooks vs Ottawa
- Monday, May 15: Brooks vs Timmins
- Tuesday, May 16: Brooks vs Terrebonne
- Friday, May 19 @ 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm
- Saturday, May 20 @ 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm
- Sunday, May 21 @ 3:00 pm (TSN)
After finishing with a Regular Season Championship 53-5-2 record, the 2022-23 Bandits went 12-3 in the AJHL Playoffs, defeating the Okotoks Oilers 4 games to 2 in the South Semifinal, then swept the Blackfalds Bulldogs 4 games to 0 in the South Final. They went on to defeat the Spruce Grove Saints 4 games to 1 in the AJHL Final. Goaltender Ethan Barwick was named the 2023 AJHL Playoff MVP. The Bandits finished 1st in the CJHL Top 20 Final Rankings.
Brooks has never faced their first opponent, the Yarmouth Mariners, who won the 2023 MHL Championship after sweeping the Edmundston Blizzard in four games. Yarmouth was the first team in MHL history to go 12-0 on their way to winning the title. The Mariners finished 10th in the CJHL Top 20 Final Rankings.
The Bandits and Senators have met before, as Ottawa represented the East Region at the 2019 National Junior A Championship held in Brooks. Brooks defeated Ottawa twice in the tournament; 2-1 in the preliminary round, followed by a 4-3 victory in the National Semifinal. The Senators were the last team to qualify for the 2023 Centennial Cup, defeating the Smiths Falls Bears in seven games in the CCHL Final. Ottawa is playing in their fourth straight National Junior A Championship and were ranked 7th in the CJHL Top 20 Final Rankings.
It will be the first ever meeting between the Bandits and the Timmins Rock, who are competing in the National Junior A Championship for the first time in their history. They defeated the defending NOJHL Champion Soo Thunderbirds in six games in the league final after trailing the series 2 games to 1. The Rock finished 9th in the CJHL Top 20 Final Rankings.
The Bandits wrap up their Preliminary Round against a team they’ve seen before. Brooks and the Terrebonne Cobras met twice at the 2017 RBC Cup in Cobourg, with the Bandits defeating the Cobras 6-3 in the Preliminary Round. They met again a few days later in the National Semifinal, with the Bandits blanking the Cobras 4-0. Terrebonne defeated the Beauce-Appalaches Condors in seven games in the 2023 QJHL Final. The Cobras were ranked 3rd in the CJHL Top 20 Final Rankings.
Also competing at the 2023 Centennial Cup in the other Group are the Portage Terriers (Host), Battlefords North Stars (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League), Steinbach Pistons (Manitoba Junior Hockey League), Collingwood Blues (Ontario Junior Hockey League) and Kam River Fighting Walleye (Superior International Junior Hockey League).