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2017 Memorial Cup: Blackhawks preview

Four Chicago prospects will play in Canada’s major junior tournament.

Erie Otters v Niagara IceDogs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The three championship Canadian Hockey League teams plus this year’s host will drop the puck on the 2017 Memorial Cup on Friday in Windsor, Ontario.

This year’s major junior tournament features the host Windsor Spitfires, Ontario League champion Erie Otters, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Saint John Sea Dogs and Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds.

It’s the first time since 2007 that two U.S. teams will play in the tournament. Neither Erie nor Seattle have won the tournament, but Saint John and Windsor have. The Spitfires won in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010 while the Sea Dogs captured the championship the following year.

What Blackhawks prospects are playing?

The Chicago Blackhawks will have four prospects competing in the tournament: Alex DeBrincat (Erie), Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel (Saint John) and Graham Knott (Windsor).

DeBrincat

DeBrincat, a 2016 second-rounder, led the OHL with 127 points in the regular season and 38 in the postseason. He’s the first American-born player to ever hit the 50-goal mark in three consecutive seasons in the CHL, and the first player to do it overall since 1977. The Hawks signed him to a three-year entry-level contract in April. The deal will begin in 2017-18.

Highmore and Noel

Highmore, who signed as an unrestricted free agent in March, finished second on the team in points with 24 (six goals, 18 assists) during the postseason. Noel, a 2016 fourth-round pick, chipped in two goals and seven assists in the playoffs. Noel also signed a three-year ELC with Chicago in April.

Knott

Knott, a 2015 second-round pick, was traded from Niagara to Windsor in November. He had four goals and 17 points in 14 games with the IceDogs before logging 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) with the Spitfires. Niagara pushed London to seven games in the first round. Knott had two goals and four points in the postseason. Chicago signed Knott to a three-year ELC in September after impressing the Hawks staff during camp.

Memorial Cup schedule

All games will be on NHL Network in the U.S.

Friday, May 19 – Saint John vs. Windsor – 7 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Saturday, May 20 – Erie vs. Seattle – 6 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Sunday, May 21 – Windsor vs. Seattle – 6 p.m.
Monday, May 22 – Erie vs. Saint John – 7 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Tuesday, May 23 – Seattle vs. Saint John – 7 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Wednesday, May 24 – Windsor vs. Erie – 8 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Thursday, May 25 – Tiebreaker: Teams TBD – 7 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Friday, May 26 – Semifinal: Teams TBD – 7 p.m. (Tape Delay)
Sunday, May 28 – Championship: Teams TBD – 6 p.m.