Though their accomplishments do not include a national title, the Carleton Place Canadians have enjoyed far more success in recent years than any other Canadian Junior Hockey League franchise.
That’s because the Canadians, members of the Central Canada Hockey League, have participated in each of the past three RBC Cup tournaments.
No other club has come close to this feat. In fact, no other team has even competed twice at the nationals in the past three years.
And the Carleton Place squad, which seems to reload instead of rebuild, just might have what it takes to make yet another appearance at this year’s national Junior A tournament. This year’s event is scheduled for May 13-21 in Cobourg, Ont.
With 13 regular season matches remaining, the Canadians are sitting atop the standings of the 12-team CCHL with 74 points, thanks to their 37-12-0-0 record.
Canadians head coach/general manager Jason Clarke, however, insists his club is not thinking about advancing to the nationals once again.
“We don’t talk about the RBC Cup,” he said. “And we don’t talk about the (CCHL championship) Bogart Cup or the (eastern Canadian championship) Fred Page Cup. We talk about improving the standard of our play every 10 games.”
Clarke believes it would be foolish to look too far ahead. Especially this season as the CCHL features several other quality squads.
Clarke said he believes all eight clubs that do end up advancing to the postseason will be capable of winning the league crown.
“There will be eight teams in the playoffs that are very good,” he said. “I think this is the year you can see a first-round upset.”
In each of the past three years, the teams that finished among the Top 4 in the CCHL regular season standings all advanced to the playoff semifinals that season.
And, although they are focused on the present and not looking too far ahead, Clarke and the Canadians would obviously love to make a return visit to the national championship.
No doubt the franchise feels it has some unfinished business to take care of.
Carleton Place was edged 4-3 in OT by the Yorkton Terriers in the championship final at the 2014 tourney in Vernon, B.C.
The Canadians also advanced to the final of the 2015 nationals staged in the Manitoba city of Portage la Prairie, only to be defeated by the host Portage Terriers.
And at last year’s RBC Cup, held in Lloydminister, the Carleton Place squad bowed out of the event after failing to win any of its four round-robin matches.
“To me it’s the hardest trophy to win,” Clarke said of the RBC Cup.
A total of 132 clubs from the 10 leagues across the country that
comprise the CJHL annually strive to win the prestigious piece of
No doubt the Canadians would love to qualify for the nationals once again this year. And preferably win the national trophy this time around.
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