Red Deer City council has agreed to support the local Memorial Cup bid committee in their goal to host the 2016 Memorial Cup.
“The Memorial Cup is one of the most prestigious and coveted trophies in North American sport,” said Ron LaRiviere, co-chair of the 2016 Memorial Cup bid committee. “It is the pinnacle of junior hockey, and the trophy did reside in Red Deer when the Rebels won the Memorial Cup back in 2001.” The last time Alberta hosted this event was in the early 1970s.
The Memorial Cup has been held annually to determine junior hockey’s national champion for almost 100 years. The concept was proposed by Captain James T. Sutherland during the First World War in honour of the soldiers who died fighting for Canada in the War.
The Red Deer Rebels had put in a bid to host the 2013 Memorial Cup and despite an unsuccessful attempt, an expansion of the ENMAX Centrium was completed as a Centennial project with the City and provincial grant funding in order to facilitate additional seating to host this caliber of event. Vancouver and Victoria have also put in bids to host the event as well.
This time around, the committee had requested a cash contribution of $200,000 and a promise to provide up to an additional $200,000 as backing if required.
Organizers told council that hosting the Memorial Cup in 2016 would be an ideal lead-in to the City’s hosting of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, a bid which was secured earlier this month in Calgary.
The 10-day event is estimated to generate an economic impact of nearly $18 million.
It’s also expected to attract some 65,000 people and should create about 100 jobs, not to mention the extensive media coverage that would follow the event as well, organizers said.
“There is also a Fan Fest which is the social hub of the tournament,” he said. “Fan Fest would also include interactive displays of interest, exhibits, concerts, a military display, local school and community exhibits and other hockey-related items.”
Darcy Mykytyshyn, bid chair for the 2013 Memorial Cup bid, added that Red Deer has a solid reputation for hosting world class sporting events and can accommodate all the requirements that hosting the Cup would present.
Council was enthusiastic in their support of the proposed bid.
“You can never go wrong with hockey in Red Deer,” said Councillor Paul Harris.
Councillor Buck Buchanan agreed. “They had me at ‘bid’. Thank you very much for what you are doing – the visibility and the recognition that comes to the community as a result of this.
“It also all falls in with our economic development piece so I say go Red Deer go, and go Rebels go.”
Councillor Lynne Mulder also noted her strong support of the bid. “I think the benefits to our community overall are enormous. And I believe in our community, our volunteers and our Rebels supporters and our sponsors.”
City council voted unanimously in support of the bid.
“It’s very exciting,” said Head Coach Brent Sutter. “I’ve lived here since I was 15, and I’ve seen major events and small events go through this community. There has always been support and great volunteer help for well-run, first class events,” he said. “We have great people living here, and very supportive people and everyone wants to do a really outstanding job to be able to help. So having the support of the community, council and the mayor – it’s a great feeling.”