Great day today, a wonderful tradition and thankfully the two best teams are going head to head for the championship. I'm reminded of the Memorial Cup that someone should write a book about. It was unforgettable. It was 1971. I'll try to make this short, but here are a few paragraphs from the book "The Memorial Cup" by Lapp and Macaulay (it should be available at your library, it is here in St. Albert). The St. Catherine's Blackhawks-Quebec Remparts contest was an intense rivalry on many levels. The series inevitably had some Quebec vs. Ontario and French vs. English undertones. In addition to the potent matchup between Marcel Dionne (St Cath) and Guy Lafleur (Quebec), Dionne had left the Quebec Leage for the Ontario League because he felt that the OHA offered a higher level of competition. Skipping ahead....The series returned to Quebec City for the third game (tied 1-1 in games). A crowd of 13,896 crowded the 10,240 seat Colisee to cheer Quebec to a 3-1 win. Lafleur scored twice. The ref handed out 102 minutes in penalties. Two Blackhawks were penalized for being belligerent to the lineseman. One night later, the series got ugly. Quebec crushed St. Catherine's 6-1 (Lafleur with a hat trick) before another overflow crowd. As the game moved further out of reach, the Blackhawks began to manhandle the smaller Quebec players. Scrap after scrap broke out, with St. Cath winger Mike Bloom exiting the penalty box to re-enter the fray more than once. Their team well ahead on the scoreboard but losing in the fisticuffs, the Colisee fans becamse volatile. St. Catherine's coach (Milne) complained that his players were being pelted with potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, bolts from seats, golf balls, debris and at least one knife. The St. Catherine's team left the ice for their dressing room under police escort. A spectator succeeded in spitting on Bloom, who replied by blindly swinging his stick--hitting one of the policemen in the face and sending him to hospital. Things were no better outside the building. A large ornery mob had gathered and was throwing bottles and pounding on the sides of the Blackhawks' team bus. The St. Catherine's players, becoming genuinely frightened, lay face down on the floor of the bus as five police cars, sirens wailing, cleared a path for the vehicle. The next game was on neutral ice at Maple Leaf Gardens. St Catherine's won the game 6-3 and the series stood at 3-2 Quebec. But the series suddenly ground to a halt. The Blackhawks would not return to Quebec City. "The parents of the kids refuse to send them into such a violent atmosphere", said coach Milne. Not only were parents of the St. Catherine's players reading lurid press accounts of game 4, but new suggestions of threats and assaults against Dionne and his relatives began to surface. Then it got a little crazy. There were stories released that connected some of the threats against some Blackhawk players to the FLQ (Front de liberation du Quebec) and that was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Blackhawks weren't going back to the Colisee. CAHA president Dawson ultimately declared the Quebec Remparts the series winner. They were now clear to play the Edmonton Oil Kings, champions of the west. They won handily. That's a really quick sketch of what happened, but I'll tell you it was something following that Memorial Cup. Thankfully, the only things today's final has in common with 1971 is the great young players who will show their stuff. I can hardly wait.