6 Oct 2001: A general view from inside the net before the game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Vancouver Canucks at the GM Place in Vanvouver, British Columbia, Canada. The Red Wings defeated the Canucks 4-1.Mandatory Credit: Jeff Vinnick /Allsport
The Memorial Cup has returned after a three-year hiatus in 2022 as the finest of junior Canadian ice hockey go head to head, but why are players wearing poppies on their jerseys in games? What is the reason behind it?
After being cancelled in 2020 and 2021, the Memorial Cup is back in action as four teams from junior Canadian ice hockey vie for the trophy.
The 2022 tournament is being played in Saint John, New Brunswick, with representatives from the Western Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and a host team playing a round robin format before a semi-final and final.
The top seeds go through automatically to the final while seeds two and three head into the semi.
During the opening night of play in the Memorial Cup, between the Hamilton Bulldogs and Saint John Sea Dogs, the players were wearing poppies on their jerseys.
Why do they do this and will it continue for every game?
1st ⭐️ Philippe Daoust 2nd ⭐️ Raivis Ansons 3rd ⭐️ Ryan Winterton #MemorialCup pic.twitter.com/OjjXvzemgT
Ice hockey’s Memorial Cup was established in 1919 at the idea of Captain James Sutherland of the Canadian Expeditionary Force who served in Europe during the First World War between 1914-1918.
Sutherland was a keen hockey fan and was voted chairman of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association in 1915.
He was able to use this position to help recruit young and amateur hockey players to sign up and help fight in the Great War.
After the Armistice of 1918, Sutherland was keen for a tribute to the fallen ice hockey players – and came up with the Memorial Cup.
It was to be awarded to the best junior hockey team in Canada in any given year, and has been played every year since 1919, with the exception of 2020 and 2021.
As the tournament is held to remember those killed in battle, players wear poppies on their jerseys on games to do exactly that: remember those who died in service to King, Queen and country.
Poppies are worn every year around the time of the Armistice and Remembrance Day – November 11th – the day in 1918 when Germany surrendered and WWI ended – as a way to remember those who died.
After the war ended, poppies began to grow on the battlefields – with John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields written after he witnessed this.
In 2010, things were tweaked lightly so that instead of just those who died in WWI, the Memorial Cup would remember anyone from any branch of the Canadian Armed Forces who had died in service.
This is why players are wearing poppies on their jerseys in the 2022 Memorial Cup.
What a night for the @SJSeaDogs 🎉#MemorialCup pic.twitter.com/6VdOa6kLyy
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