The long-awaited 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup is finally set to take place in Red Deer starting tomorrow. Plans for this event have been years in the making, so it’s very exciting to see it about to unfold at the Enmax Centrium.
Thousands of people will be flocking to the City to enjoy the games, and the many other related events that will be taking place throughout the community including Fan Fest which will be open daily during the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup four hours prior to puck drop.
It’s a free event to the public which will take place in the Parkland Pavilion where patrons can enjoy a main street which will showcase team and sponsored booths, military displays, interactive games, photo opportunities and various merchandise.
There will also be a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit, where CHL, WHL and NHL trophies will be on display.
Other displays will include memorabilia, unique facts and photos from the CHL and WHL’s history.
In the Molson Hockey House, which is open to those 18 and up after each game, there will be live entertainment nightly throughout the 10-day event. The Molson Hockey House will open four hours prior to each game and will close at puck drop, reopening at the end of the second intermission until 1 a.m. nightly.
A number of entertainers will be taking the stage during the event include Brett Kissel, 9 Second Ride, comedian Kelly Taylor, the Mud Men, Hockey Hall of Fame member Bryan Trottier, Medicinal, St. James’ Gate, the Bradley Abel Band, the Clayton Bellamy Band, West of Fifth, See Alice, Finger 11 and the Randi Boulton Band.
The annual tournament for Major Junior hockey’s biggest prize will officially get underway in the City when the Memorial Cup itself arrives during a special parade and ceremony, which will take place downtown on Thursday.
The trophy itself was originally known as the OHA Memorial Cup and was donated by the Ontario Hockey Association in March 1919, in remembrance of the many soldiers who paid the supreme sacrifice for Canada in World War I.
In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian military personnel.
Thursday’s festivities will get underway at 11:15 a.m. when the Cup is brought into Red Deer by a group of CH146 Griffon helicopters, one of which will land at Central Middle School with the trophy.
The Cup will then be picked up by a military Light Armoured Vehicle which will parade it through the streets of downtown along with a contingent of 45 Canadian Armed Forces pipes and drums and a group of military veterans on the way to the statue of the Unknown Soldier in Veterans’ Park on Ross Street, which will be the site of the official arrival ceremony.
The free public ceremony at the cenotaph will begin after the Cup arrives at the stage in Veterans’ Park at 12 p.m. and will feature a welcome program, live street entertainment and will be capped off by the firing of a military howitzer.
Residents are invited to stay after the ceremonies and enjoy lunch and entertainment following the formal celebration.
A full schedule of events related to the Memorial Cup and a parade route map can be found at www.mastercardmemorialcup.ca/cuparrival.
We encourage Red Deerians to take part in this event in some way, whether by taking in a game, heading down to the Westerner grounds in support or dropping tomorrow’s festivities. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Red Deerians to have such up close experience with such a prestigious event.