By Terry Doyle
Playing in junior hockey’s top event twice in a career is a remarkable feat. For one player at the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup – he’d like to erase the negative side of some mixed emotions from his first trip.
Shawinigan Cataractes defenceman Brandon Gormley played in the 2010 tournament held in Brandon, Manitoba – as a member of the QMJHL champion Moncton Wildcats. That team went winless in the tournament, including a heartbreaking overtime loss to the eventual champion Windsor Spitfires in their final game.
“The last one didn’t go quite the way we wanted to,” explained the Murray River, PEI native. “It was a good experience but you always want to have success in these tournaments. With that being said, it’s not easy. It’s a very hard tournament to get some wins and every team is A-plus team so we have to be on top of our game.”
After Shawinigan dropped this year’s opener, it took until Gormley’s fifth career MasterCard Memorial Cup game before finally getting a victory – Sunday vs. London. The win assured Gormley and the Cataractes of advancing beyond the round-robin, to at least a tiebreaker game.
Gormley’s previous Memorial Cup experience allows him to provide leadership within the dressing room on what to experience on the national stage. “It’s easy to get sidetracked and some guys are not used to the media (and) the whole scheduling of the tournament. It’s nice to have gone through it before to know what to expect and stay focused through it,” said Gormley.
“To have that experience, it’s priceless – lots of stories that can be spread through the team from my past experiences.”
During the tournament, Gormley has seen some familiar faces as Saint John teammates Jonathan Huberdeau and Nathan Beaulieu, along with Edmonton’s Mark Pysyk and London’ Scott Harrington, joined Gormley and fellow Cataractes’ Michael Bournival on Team Canada at the last World Junior Hockey Championship. After battling together over the Christmas Holiday, they’re now on opposite sides towards the country’s top prize.
“It’s a little different – but that’s the great thing about hockey,” said Gormley.
“There’s no love-loss between the guys out here. It doesn’t matter if you’re friends or you don’t know the guy. Hockey guys are good about that. When it is game time you play for keeps but afterwards you shake hands and have a laugh after.”
With the month between games for Shawinigan prior to the tournament, Gormley was able to watch the playoff run of the Phoenix Coyotes, who selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft. “Yes, I watched quite a few (games) there. They are playing well; obviously L.A. is playing pretty well too,” said Gormley, who has signed with the Coyotes and is expected to join the organization next season.
“You always want to be on a team that is in the playoff hunt. I know they’ve always been (in the hunt) the last few years at least. It’s great to be part of that organization. They’re playing well and on the upswing and hopefully they seem to be chipping in farther and farther as we go.