As part of the Canadian Hockey League’s Memorial Cup Memories series between May 25 and June 21, CHL on Sportsnet talent including RJ Broadhead, Sam Cosentino, and Rob Faulds will recall some of their most memorable moments from tournaments over the last decade, and we’ll recap the highlights to help set the stage for 10 championship game rebroadcasts on CHL.ca.
The Saint John Sea Dogs made history in 2011 in not only hoisting the Memorial Cup for the first time in franchise history, but in doing so also became the first club to bring CHL supremacy to the Canadian Maritimes after downing the host Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the championship final.
In all, it was a spring of celebration for the then six-year-old franchise as the Sea Dogs closed out the regular season with a phenomenal 58-7-1-2 showing, good for 119 points and a second consecutive division title. Saint John’s winning ways then continued into the postseason as the club lost only three games en route to its first President’s Cup marked by a 4-2 series win over the Gatineau Olympiques.
Arriving in Mississauga, the Sea Dogs soon punched their ticket to the final after finishing atop the round robin with a 2-1 record that counted 11 goals as 2011 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Huberdeau pushed the pace with four points through the opening trio of contests.
Elsewhere, a tiebreaker was required to determine who would face the host Majors in the semi-final, resulting in a showdown between the Kootenay ICE and Owen Sound Attack. The ICE were ultimately successful but then came up short the following night as Mississauga prevailed with a 3-1 victory in semi-final action thanks to a two-goal effort from then Anaheim Ducks prospect Devante Smith-Pelly.
The 2011 Memorial Cup was not without top performances from other squads, particularly Attack netminder and 2011 NHL Draft prospect Jordan Binnington who despite winning a lone contest across four outings finished with a spectacular .951 save percentage to lead all goaltenders, marked by a 41-save showing coming in an overtime decision versus the eventual champion Sea Dogs. For his efforts, Binnington later claimed the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goaltender.
Back on the big stage, and not yet finished, Saint John once again saw another heroic performance from Huberdeau in the championship final highlighted by a two-point night after teammate Simon Despres first opened the scoring with a timely shorthanded tally less than three minutes into the initial frame.
Wrapping with six points in four games to tie for second in tournament scoring, Huberdeau was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the most valuable player, while he was also one of two Sea Dogs alongside blue-liner Nathan Beaulieu to earn a spot on the Memorial Cup All-Star Team. Only weeks later, both players would hear their names called in the first round of the 2011 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens, respectively.
May 20 – Saint John 4 vs. Mississauga 3
May 21 – Owen Sound 5 vs. Kootenay 0
May 22 – Mississauga 2 vs. Kootenay 1
May 23 – Owen Sound 2 vs. Saint John 3 (OT)
May 24 – Kootenay 5 vs. Saint John 4 (OT)
May 25 – Mississauga 3 vs. Owen Sound 1
May 26 (Tie-Breaker) – Kootenay 7 vs. Owen Sound 3
May 27 (Semi-Final) – Kootenay 1 vs. Mississauga 3
May 29 (Final) – Mississauga 1 vs. Saint John 3
Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy (MVP) – Jonathan Huberdeau, Saint John
Ed Chynoweth Trophy (Leading Scorer) – Andrew Shaw, Owen Sound
George Parsons Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike) – Marc Cantin, Mississauga
Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Top Goaltender) – Jordan Binnington, Owen Sound
Forwards: Jonathan Huberdeau (Saint John), Andrew Shaw (Owen Sound), Devante Smith-Pelly (Mississauga)
Defence: Nathan Beaulieu (Saint John), Stuart Percy (Mississauga)
Goaltender: Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound)
G – Nathan Lieuwen
G – Mackenzie Skapski
D – Brayden McNabb
F – Cody Eakin
F – Matt Fraser
F – Max Reinhart
F – Sam Reinhart
Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors
D – Dylan DeMelo
D – Stuart Percy
F – Casey Cizikas
F – Joseph Cramarossa
F – Justin Shugg
F – Devante Smith–Pelly
Owen Sound Attack
G – Jordan Binnington
D – Jesse Blacker
F – Kurtis Gabriel
F – Mike Halmo
F – Joey Hishon
F – Andrew Shaw
F – Gemel Smith
F – Garrett Wilson
Saint John Sea Dogs
D – Nathan Beaulieu
D – Simon Despres
D – Eric Gelinas
F – Stanislav Galiev
F – Jonathan Huberdeau
F – Tomas Jurco
Relive the action between the Sea Dogs and Majors on Thursday’s rebroadcast streaming live at 7 p.m. ET on CHL.ca.