Thunder Bay, Ont. – Two Flint Firebirds prospects James Gray and Ryan Mansfield are set to compete in Canada’s National Midget Championship, the TELUS Cup, in Thunder Bay, Ont. April 22-29, 2019, at the Fort William Gardens. Gray and Mansfield will represent the Central Region champions’ Toronto Nationals who play their first game Monday afternoon against the Atlantic Region champions Halifax Macs at 12 p.m. ET. Sunday’s gold-medal game will be televised nationally across Canada on TSN (English) and RDS (French). All preliminary-round games and both semifinals, as well as the bronze-medal game, will be available via live stream at HockeyCanada.ca/TELUSCup.
The Telus Cup is Canada’s national midget ice hockey club championship. Since 1974, the best minor hockey teams in the country have gathered to compete for Canada’s National Midget Championship. Five regional champions join the host team in a week-long marathon to crown the very best in Canada.
The TELUS Cup has been a starting point for hundreds of NHL careers. Alumni of Canada’s National Midget Championship include a number of NHLers including 53 first-round draft picks, three No. 1 selections (Gord Kluzak, Wendel Clark and Sidney Crosby) and eight future Hockey Hall of Fame inductees (Glenn Anderson, Ron Francis, Mike Gartner, Al MacInnis, Larry Murphy, Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman).
It has already been a successful season for Gray and Mansfield. Both have played key roles in leading the Toronto Nationals to the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GHTL) championship and the TELUS Cup qualifying Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) championship. In the TELUS Cup Qualifier, Mansfield recorded an impressive 11 points (5G, 6A) in seven games while Gray stood tall between-the-pipes with a 1.50 goals against average (GAA) and a .945 save percentage (SAV%) in four games.
The Firebirds selected forward Ryan Mansfield (Burlington, Ont) in the fifth round (82nd overall) of the 2018 OHL Priority Selection after he racked up 44 points (28G, 16A) in 31 games with the Burlington Eagles (SCTA) AAA hockey team.
“When I was drafted by Flint, my dad came up to me and said congratulations,” said Mansfield. “I was super happy and didn’t know what to say. After everything I worked for, I was just happy to be drafted by such a great organization. I heard that they have great facilities and great people surrounding everyone and that they are a great hockey organization in a great hockey town. The OHL is a stepping stone to a better career and a place to improve and play against the best of the best in such an elite league.”
The Firebirds selected goaltender James Gray with the second-overall pick in the 2019 OHL U-18 Priority Selection. Gray, posted a 37-6-7 record through 50 games this season including a 1.26 goals against average (GAA) and a .950 save percentage (SAV%).
“I was honored to be drafted by Flint,” said Gray “I can’t wait to get started and look forward to meeting the the team and staff at Orientation Camp next month.”
The TELUS Cup is an annual event, held by Hockey Canada each April. The current champions are the Notre Dame Hounds, who won the 2018 Telus Cup in Sudbury, Ontario. Teams from Saskatchewan and Quebec have been dominant at this event and have captured the most medals. The most successful teams include the Notre Dame Hounds, Regina Pat Canadians, Prince Albert Mintos, Lac St-Louis Lions, Richelieu Riverains (now Collège Charles-Lemoyne), and Red Deer Rebels/Chiefs.
“The TELUS Cup is one of Hockey Canada’s premier events and it provides fans the opportunity to watch six of the top Midget teams in Canada compete on the national stage,” said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties for Hockey Canada.
The tournament will kick off on April 22, with the Central Region champions Toronto Nationals taking on the Atlantic Region champions Halifax Macs at 12 p.m. ET, followed by the Quebec champs Cantonniers de Magog taking on the West winners Tisdale Trojans at 4 p.m. ET. Opening day will conclude with the host Thunder Bay Kings opening their quest for the TELUS Cup against the Pacific Region champions Calgary Buffaloes at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hickling Images
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Flint Firebirds Hockey Club