The NHL Network U.S. will broadcast the 2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament for the national championship title between four Canadian Hockey League teams.
Penguins’ 2009 first-round pick (30th overall) Simon Despres and the Saint John Sea Dogs, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champions, will compete in the tournament, which runs from May 19-29, against the Kootenay Ice (Western Hockey League champions), Owen Sound Attack (Ontario Hockey League champions) and host team Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (OHL).
Tournament coverage, which will be a combination of live and tape delayed games, begins May 21, at 9 a.m. ET with a rebroadcast of Saint John-Mississauga from the previous night.
Despres (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) helped the Sea Dogs earn their first-ever President’s Trophy as QMJHL champions after besting the Gatineau Olympiques in six games. The 19-year-old blueliner scored 12 points (4G-8A) in 19 postseason games for Saint John. Despres earned the Emile “Butch” Bouchard Award as the QMJHL’s Best Defenseman after posting 41 points (13G-28A) and a plus-29 in 47 games in 2010-11.
The tournament will also feature top prospects from the upcoming 2011 NHL Entry Draft, which takes place in St. Paul, Minn. June 24-25. Top-ranked players participating are Jonathan Huberdeau (ranked No. 3 by Central Scouting), Nathan Beaulieau (No. 5), Zack Phillips (No. 15), Tomas Jurco (No. 20) and Jordan Binnington (No. 3 goalie).