BY: BEN LYPKA, MISSION CITY RECORD
Mission hosted the event in 2015, meaning the Outlaws had an automatic berth into the event, despite falling in the Pacific Junior Hockey League finals to the North Vancouver Wolfpack last season.
This year, the Outlaws punched their ticket by compiling the best regular season in club history, and roaring through the playoffs. They won the PJHL title on March 26 by beating the Grandview Steelers 7-2 to eliminate the Steelers in five games.
Mission is the PJHL representative at the event, and takes on host Victoria Cougars and Campbell River Storm from the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, and the 100 Mile House Wranglers from the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
Outlaws head coach Brad Veitch said his team has a tough road ahead.
“Campbell River was here for the Cyclone Taylor Cup last year,” he said. “We know them pretty well and I’ve watched a lot of them. Victoria and Campbell River are both really good hockey teams with a high-powered offence and skate really well. It’s going to be a real battle over in Victoria for us.”
The Cougars eliminated the Storm in six games in the VIJHL final. Both teams dominated in the regular season, with the Storm losing just six games and the Cougars only losing five in 48 games played.
Outlaws assistant captain Brody Dyck said both VIJHL teams should be a challenge.
“There will be some tough competition with Victoria and Campbell River,” he said. “Those are going to probably be the best teams we’ve played so far this year.”
The Wranglers come to the event as possibly the hottest team, after knocking off the higher seed Kimberly Dynamites in the KIJHL championship.
They’re also the freshest team, as they won their first ever league title on March 31, with the other three teams clinching their spot at the Cyclone Taylor Cup much earlier.
100 Mile House won both their conference and league championship in five games, and it’s the first ever trip to the tournament for the franchise.
Mission opens against Campbell River at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Victoria today at 4 p.m. The Outlaws then battle the Wranglers on Friday at 4 p.m., and close off the round robin against the Cougars on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
A provincial champion will be crowned on Sunday based on the results of the round robin games. The top two teams battle for gold on Sunday at 2 p.m., with the bronze medal winner being crowned at 10 a.m. The Outlaws won the bronze medal at last year’s Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Read the Mission City Record online for updated results from the event. For more information on the tournament, visit cyclonetaylorcup.ca.