It has been a long, eventful and demanding drive toward their destination, but this weekend it all comes to a screeching halt, one way or another for the Dundas Real McCoys.
The destination, the City of Brantford and the 100th Allan Cup Championship. That’s been the focus for this hockey team since day one of the season. After falling in a forgettable Robertson Cup series sweep at the hands of the Whitby Dunlops, the McCoys’ are getting something that rarely exists in sports: a second chance.
On Friday, when the McCoys lace up the skates for Game One in the best of three Renwick Cup at Grightmire Arena, they will make sure their final opportunity to reach the promise land doesn’t slip away.
Standing in the way of Dundas are the Thunder Bay Hawks, the Northern Ontario representative in this spiralling staircase of a playoff system. The Hawks earned their way to Dundas, the site for all three games in the championship sprint, by ousting the Kenora Thistles in two straight games back in early March.
The city of Thunder Bay is no stranger to Allan Cup successes, capturing six national titles in the 99-year history of the prized Canadian championship, including a victory in 2005, when they were known as the Bombers. This Thunder Bay squad is loaded with experience, bringing back eight players from that ’05 Allan Cup title. “These guys have a lot of players returning from their Championship team three years ago,” said Real McCoys General Manager/Associate Head Coach Don Robertson. “So there’s no doubt they will be tough. That said, we’ll be better prepared this weekend and we’re hopeful for good crowds like we’ve seen all playoffs.”
For the McCoys, they need to put the disappointment of the Whitby series behind them in a hurry. They are fortunate enough, with the absence of a representative from Eastern Canada playing in this year’s Allan Cup, the Major League Hockey Champion was awarded the chance to play for the Renwick Cup, even with the loss in the Robertson Cup. Not only that, but the Real McCoys are on home ice for all three games (Friday, Saturday and Sunday, if necessary), if the series goes the distance. And until the two losses to the Dunlops, the McCoys’ home ice success has been well publicized all season long.
The McCoys’ are a wounded team, unable to escape the last series without some injury woes, but their depth, talent and resilience will all be on the line once again as they creep closer to joining the host team, Brantford Blast and the Robertson Cup champion Whitby Dunlops, at the grandest stage in Canadian Senior Hockey, the 100th Allan Cup Championship.
Buckle up everyone, the ride is about to come to a stop, with all signs hopefully leading toward the city of Brantford.