It’s been more than a decade since a squad from the Quebec Junior Hockey League participated in the national Junior A championships.
The Terrebonne Cobras are hoping they are the ones that break that drought. And they just might have what it takes to do so.
The Cobras registered their best regular season mark in franchise history, winning 44 of their 49 contests. And following an opening-round playoff series win, the Terrebonne squad has advanced to its league semifinals.
Regardless of how the Cobras fare in the rest of their QJHL playoffs, they are guaranteed to still be playing hockey in early May. That’s because they are hosting the Fred Page Cup, a regional qualifying tournament for the national RBC Cup championship. Should the Cobras manage to win the Fred Page Cup, a tourney that will feature four entrants, then they will advance to the Canadian finals. The Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Cobourg Cougars will host this year’s national tournament, which is scheduled for May 13-21.
The Joliette Action was the last QJHL team to qualify for the RBC Cup back in 2006.
Cobras head coach/GM Robert Dubuc is fully aware how long it has been since a club from his league won the Fred Page Cup and earned a spot into the nationals.
“This year we’ve built a team that can go through that,” he said.
Besides the Cobras, the Fred Page Cup will include the QJHL champions (or league finalists if Terrebonne wins) as well as the champs from the Central Canada Hockey League and the Maritime Hockey League.
“We don’t want to just be the hosts,” Dubuc said. “We want to be the champs.”
Dubuc, who is in his 12th season as the Cobras bench boss and GM, has known for well over a year now that his organization would be hosting the Fred Page Cup.
And he planned accordingly to have a club that could potentially win the tourney.
“We prepared that team to be in the Top 2,” he said. “We made our list (of guys we wanted). And we picked up a lot of guys from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.” About half of the regulars on the Cobras roster have some experience from the higher calibre QMJHL.
Dubuc though admits he wasn’t anticipating his charges would enjoy as much regular season success as they did.
“We knew we would have a good team,” he said. “But I think we set six or seven records in the league. I was not expecting this.”
Dubuc doubts many of the players in his lineup know how long it has been since a QJHL club participated at the nationals.
“If we’re there, we’ll be sure they’ll be aware of it,” he said.
But first things first. Dubuc realizes there are four strong clubs remaining in the hunt in their own league playoffs.
“It’s going to be a big battle for the next month,” he said.Back to Top
1) ISS Hockey Releases May Top 31 Rankings for 2018 NHL Draft
2) 2018 RBC Cup Kicks Off in Chilliwack
3) Ontario Hockey Association Announces 2017-18 Prospects
4) Western Canada Cup No More
5) Meet Matthew Savoie, the NAX Forward Taking the CSSHL by Storm