Time for the big one

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

The Vancouver Giants are good and they're nationwide.

The Western Hockey League champions begin their first Memorial Cup quest Saturday against the host Moncton Wildcats in New Brunswick (4 p.m. PDT, Sportsnet/MOJO AM 730).

The puck drops on major junior hockey's national championship tournament Friday when the Peterborough Petes meet the Quebec Remparts.

Giants play the Quebec champion Remparts on Sunday (1 p.m.) and Ontario champion Peterborough on Tuesday (4 p.m.).

Early this week, the Giants went back to basics with National Hockey League referee Kelly Sutherland.

He tutored them on the finer points of the NHL's rule changes, which were adopted by the Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but not the WHL.

"I don't think we could be any more prepared," said left winger Mitch Bartley.

The club will rely on centre Gilbert Brule's playmaking and finishing prowess. He scored 16 goals and 14 assists in 18 post-season games and was named most valuable player of the playoffs.

Goaltender Dustin Slade enters the Memorial Cup with a 1.31 goals against average after compiling a 16-2 record with six shutouts. vGiants will be battling a Moncton team led by blue liner Luc Bourdon, the Vancouver Canucks' 2005 first round draft pick. They can't afford to be starstruck by Quebec's head coach Patrick Roy, the retired Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche goaltending legend.

Regardless of the result, Giants host the 2007 Memorial Cup at the Pacific Coliseum.


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