AMHERST, N.S. – The stage is set for the Fred Page Cup to be held in Amherst in just a few weeks. Then, it's a matter of fans packing the stadium to see four teams battle it out to determine who goes on to a national championship.
“We’re looking forward to the arrival of the teams on April 30,” said Bill Schurman, Fred Page Cup host committee chairman.
Winners of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League, and the Central Canada Hockey League, along with host Amherst Ramblers, will play in the tournament May 1 to 5.
Each team has their own hotel – two teams will stay in Amherst, a third in Sackville.
“We’ve had three schools adopt the teams to make them feel welcome: Spring Street, Cumberland North Academy and West Highlands,” said Schurman. “They’re busy creating posters and banners for the dressing rooms to make them feel at home.”
The Ramblers pay for each team’s accommodation, food and travel while they are here for the tournament, and also provide an RV for clubs outside the stadium.
“Through the support of Sackville RV, we’re going to provide an RV as an office for each coach because we don’t have the space inside the stadium,” said Schurman. “So we’ll be parking three RVs outside the stadium and the coaches will have an RV where they can meet their players and watch video.”
Before the first game of the tournament, builders from each of the 12 Maritime Hockey League teams will be recognized.
“The Ramblers picked Walter Maltby as their representative,” said Schurman. “Walter’s always a very positive person in the community and we’re looking forward to recognizing him at centre ice before the first game.”
All competing players will attend a luncheon featuring Gardiner MacDougall, head coach of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men’s hockey team.
“He has seven national championships at UNB, and he will talk about education, in relation to hockey,” said Schurman.
The Ramblers play the first three consecutive nights of the tournament in prime time at 7:30 p.m. On May 1 they play the winners of the CCHL (Carleton Place Canadiens or Ottawa Junior Senators, tied 1-1); on May 2 they play the winners of the MHL (Yarmouth Mariners or Campbellton Tigers, Mariners lead 2-0); and May 3, they play the winners of the QJHL (Princeville Titan or Terrebonne Cobras, Titan lead 1-0).
“We hope to see good crowds those nights," said Schurman.
Teams then advance to semi-final play on May 4 with the finalists playing in the championship game Sunday, May 5.