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Harmony’s Cole Rafuse reflects on Memorial Cup win

Cole Rafuse, second from left, holding the Memorial Cup with his parents and brother post-game on the ice at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Sask.
Cole Rafuse, second from left, holding the Memorial Cup with his parents and brother post-game on the ice at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Sask. - Contributed

HARMONY - Kings County’s own Cole Rafuse is still living the dream.

The former Valley Wildcat’s new squad, Acadie-Bathurst Titan, was crowned this year’s Canadian Hockey League (CHL) champions after winning the 2018 Memorial Cup late last month in Saskatchewan.

“The experience was unbelievable,” said 19-year-old Rafuse, who has just finished his third year with the Titan team.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many people get to experience, so to be able to go there and win that trophy was pretty crazy.”

Winning the cup comes as yet another opportunity for the Harmony native to gain new experience and further his hockey career since being selected as the first pick in the second round of the 2015 QMJHL draft.

“I think winning this and having this experience opens up a lot of opportunities,” said Rafuse. “It brings a lot of experience with it and the atmosphere of being around everyone and all the other top teams - it was crazy.”

Valley Wildcats head coach Travis Young said he, and the rest of the organization, are very proud of Rafuse.

“It’s an incredible accomplishment,” said Young. “The Memorial Cup is arguably one of the toughest trophies to win in any sport in North America, having to get through your own league, and then to win against the champions of the other leagues across the country.”

More on the Memorial Cup

The cup itself is awarded following a four-team, round-robin format tournament between a host team and the champions of the CHL’s three member leagues: the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), Western Hockey League (WHL), and Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

This year’s tournament, which took place May 18-27, was hosted by the Regina Pats at the Brandt Centre in Regina, Sask., and included the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, the Hamilton Bulldogs and Swift Current Broncos.

The Titan earned a bye to the final on the fifth day, allowing them to advance directly to the championship game, and giving them four days to relax and recoup before defeating the Regina Pats 3–0.

This year marked not only the 100th Memorial Cup championship, but the first Memorial Cup win for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and the QMJHL’s first Memorial Cup win since 2013 when the Halifax Mooseheads beat the Portland Winterhawks in Saskatoon.

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