Islanders to honour 1981 & ’84 Hardy Cup Champions
On Friday, March 24th, the Charlottetown Islanders play their final home game of the regular season. In that game, they’ll recognize Islanders of both the past and present.
The team will be wearing special edition jerseys in honour of the 1980’s Charlottetown Islanders, PEI’s senior hockey team that won the Hardy Cup in 1981 and 1984. The jerseys will be part of a larger celebration of those two teams and the team’s three graduating players – Keiran Gallant, Jérémie Biakabutuka, and Jakob Robillard.
“The final home game of the regular season is a significant one each year that draws many fans in before the playoffs begin. There is no better time to celebrate a significant team in PEI hockey history while educating a new generation on that team’s impact.” Said Islanders vice president of sales and marketing Jason Maclean.
The Charlottetown Islanders of the 1980’s were the first team from PEI to win a national championship, winning the Hardy Cup twice, Canada’s intermediate ‘A’ senior hockey championship. The team was comprised of significant players from the junior and university circuit, along with a number of former professionals from across both PEI and Canada. Some of those significant players include former NHL netminder Yves Bélanger, former WHA players Kevin Devine and Jamie Kennedy, and local star Ron Carragher along with the likes of current Dallas Stars scout Shane Turner, Kevin Murphy, Rory Beck, Mike Ready, and Wilfred MacDonald. The 1984 team was coached by former Toronto Maple Leaf and Detroit Red Wing Errol Thompson.
The Islanders would play teams from across Canada en route to both Hardy Cup victories, facing off against the likes of the Fredericton Red Wings, the Timmins North Stars, and the Winnipeg North End Flyers, who they eventually defeated for their first national championship. The win was significant, prompting a championship parade through Charlottetown and a welcome by then-PEI Premier Angus Maclean at the Charlottetown Airport.
“The ’81 team was a very special group,” said Ron Carragher. “We won our last 12 games of the season. It’s an indescribable feeling winning your last game of the season knowing you just won a National Championship.”
In addition to honouring the Islanders of the past, the team will recognize Keiran Gallant, Jérémie Biakabutuka, and Jakob Robillard for their exemplary major junior careers both here in Charlottetown and with their previous teams.
Gallant, the team’s captain, will finish his career with 186 games played, all with Charlottetown, after being selected by the team in the 13th round of the QMJHL Draft. From Covehead PEI, Gallant is just the second Islander to wear the “C” with his hometown team after Ryan MacKinnon did so in 2014.
Biakabutuka was acquired from the Rimouski Oceanic during the 2021-2022 holiday trading period and has become a leader for a young defensive corp. He immediately ingratiated himself to Islanders fans with his steady, consistent play. He’ll finish his QMJHL career with 266 games played, 10th among active players in the league.
Jakob Robillard joined the Islanders after emerging as a premiere netminder for the Sherbrooke Phoenix over the past two seasons. He wrestled his way into the goalcrease last season and served as Sherbrooke’s starting netminder for their 2022 President Cup Playoff run. Since arriving in Charlottetown, he’s been a beacon of light between the pipes and has given his teammates every opportunity to win on a nightly basis.
Join us this Friday, March 24th, as we honour the Allen Cup-winning Charlottetown Islanders of 1981 and 1984, along with our three 20-year-old graduating players. Limited tickets are still available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com.