2024 telus cup membertou ready

Membertou is ready for the TELUS Cup

Two years after the TELUS Cup was “hosted” 5,000 kilometres from home, the Membertou First Nation and host Sydney Rush are ready to welcome the nation’s best to Nova Scotia

Jonathan Yue
January 30, 2024

For the first time in its 49-year history, the TELUS Cup is coming to Cape Breton Island.

Adding to the excitement, this year’s edition of Canada’s Men’s U18 National Club Championship will be the first Hockey Canada event to be hosted in partnership with an Indigenous community – the Membertou First Nation. The event will be organized by the Mi’kmaq community located on Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island), with the local culture on full display on and off the ice.

Membertou was first awarded the 2021 TELUS Cup in July 2019, but that tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, the national championship was played in Okotoks, Alberta, with the Sydney Rush serving as the host team despite playing more than 5,000 kilometres from home.

Two years later, the Rush are ready to welcome the best U18 teams from across the country , and the Membertou community is ready for the opportunity to showcase all it has to offer for visiting teams, fans and family alike.

“The support from the whole island heading into the tournament has been awesome,” says Rush forward and Sydney native Tyler Seymour. “Having the community and culture always around hockey, there’s an excitement of having an event hosted by the Indigenous community in Membertou for the first time.

“We have a few players on the team who are Indigenous, and the community hold an annual tournament called the Wallace Bernard Memorial Native Youth Hockey Tournament every year, so the community is always around us, being kind, supportive and always cheering us on.”

Including their 2022 appearance, the 2024 TELUS Cup marks the seventh time a team from Cape Breton participates in the national championship, following the 1975 Sydney Legionnaires, 1978 Sydney Steelers, 1982 Cape Breton Colonels (bronze medal), 1999 Cape Breton Jeans Experts and, of course, the 2017 Cape Breton West Islanders, who made history as the first team from Atlantic Canada to win a national title.

Seymour is among those with TELUS Cup experience, one of just two players who were on the ice in Okotoks in 2022. The 2006-born forward is in his third season with his hometown Rush and has played a pivotal role in the offence, leading the team with 32 points (13-19—32) through 33 games, good for a tie for ninth in the Nova Scotia U18 Major Hockey League (NSU18MHL).

With seven games in the season to go, the Rush will continue to follow the leadership of captain Keegan O’Neill, who joins Seymour as the only other returnee from 2022. Not only leading with the captain’s ‘C’ on his chest, the 17-year-old has tallied 11 goals, seven of which have come on the power play, tied for the NSU18MHL lead in that category.

The Rush are into final stretch of the regular season, currently sitting at the bottom of the standings with an 8-20-5 record, but Seymour wants to make sure the team closes the campaign with an understanding of what it takes to play at the TELUS Cup.

“It’s the best teams in Canada,” Seymour says. “We got off to a rough start, but we’re progressing really well as a younger team and leading up to TELUS, we have to continue playing our best and not let up. Overall, we’ll enjoy the moment and take in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

In 2022, the Rush missed out on the semifinals, with a lone 3-2 win over the Vancouver NE Chiefs. This year, they will kick off their tournament when they welcome the Pacific Region champions to the Membertou Sport & Wellness Centre on April 22.

Full-tournament ticket packages are now on sale, with single-game ticket sales to be announced closer to the tournament. Get yours while supplies last.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

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