The public is invited to a free celebration Thursday as the Memorial Cup arrives in Windsor ahead of the annual tournament.

The trophy will arrive along the Detroit River aboard the Canadian Coast Guard Constable Carriere V.C. before docking at Dieppe Gardens around 6 p.m.

From there the cup will be led by a military parade to the Cenotaph starting at 6:30 p.m. on University Avenue.

A special ceremony open to the public will be held at the Essex County War Memorial in City Hall Square. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.

The trophy will be displayed at City Hall for public viewing and photographs until 9 p.m.

Over the following 10 days, it will tour the city with a stop in each community, at libraries, parks, community centres, legions and Devonshire Mall.

Each stop will feature fan giveaways, opportunities to enter contests and a chance to take a picture with the cup.

Spitfires co-owner John Savage says, “The cup and the hockey is the reason why this exists, but at the end of the day, this is about the entire community providing the opportunity to reach out. We're going to take it out into the communities into the county.”

The Memorial Cup will also make its way to Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Kingsville, Leamington, LaSalle, Lakeshore and the town of Essex.

The tournament itself is expected to generate between $10-million and $17-million for the Windsor-Essex economy.

The host Windsor Spitfires will open the hockey tournament on the ice, against the QMJHL champion Saint John Sea Dogs on Friday May 19 at 7 p.m.

The OHL champion Erie Otters will battle the Seattle Thunderbirds, the WHL champs, on Saturday at 3 p.m.

If you do want tickets to any of the Memorial Cup games, you can purchase them at the WFCU Centre box office or online