May 18, 2012 - 04:08 CST

SHAWINIGAN, QC – The Edmonton Oil Kings take on the Shawinigan Cataractes to open the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament on Friday night in Shawinigan, QC. (7:00pm ET; 5:00pm MT Sportsnet)

The CHL’s Championship tournament, which wraps up with the Championship game on Sunday, May 27th, features four teams – the host Shawinigan Cataractes, the OHL Champion London Knights, the WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings and the QMJHL Champion and defending Memorial Cup Champion Saint John Sea Dogs – who will battle for the storied Memorial Cup trophy.

The Oil Kings captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup last Sunday after defeating the Portland Winterhawks 4-1 in the seventh and deciding game of the 2012 WHL Championship series.  It’s the first WHL Championship and Memorial Cup appearance for the Oil Kings in the five-year modern history of the franchise.

Led by captain Mark Pysyk, a Buffalo Sabres prospect, the Oil Kings skated to the best record in the WHL during the regular season and posted a 16-4 record en route to the WHL Championship.  Goaltender Laurent Brossoit, a Calgary Flames prospect, was named the MVP of the WHL Championship series.

The Cataractes will hit the ice for the first time in a month after being eliminated in the second round of the QMHJL playoffs by the Chicoutimi Sangueneens.  The tournament hosts, the Cataractes last appeared in the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament in 1985 when they lost in the final to the Prince Albert Raiders.

The Cataractes are led by talented Russian forward Kirill Kabanov, who posted a team-best 13 points in 11 playoff games, and Canadian World Junior defenseman Brandon Gormley, who scored five goals in seven playoff games.

The MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament format sees each team play one another in a round-robin format. The team with the best record after the round-robin advances directly to the Championship game, while the second and third-placed teams play a semi-final game to determine the other tournament finalist. If there is a tie for third place after the round-robin, a tiebreaker game will be played to determine the second semi-finalist.

The round-robin portion of the tournament continues on Saturday with the QMJHL champion and defending Memorial Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs taking on the OHL champion London Knights.

2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup Schedule (All times are Eastern):
Round-Robin Game 1 –Edmontonvs. Shawinigan on Friday May 18, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 2 – Saint John vs. London on Saturday May 19, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 3 – Shawinigan vs. London on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 4 – Saint John vs. Edmontonon Monday May 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 5 – London vs. Edmonton on Tuesday May 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm
Round-Robin Game 6 – Shawinigan vs. Saint John on Wednesday May 23, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Tie-Breaker (if necessary) – Thursday May 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Semi-Final – Friday May 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Championship Final – Sunday May 27, 2011 at 7:00 pm

The 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup is proudly supported by MasterCard, title sponsor of this event for 14 straight years.  Associate sponsors include Bank of Montreal, Subway, CCM, and broadcast partners Sportsnet and TVA Sports.   

For more information about the event please www.mastercardmemorialcup.ca