It has truly been a superb season for landing prestigious and popular sporting events for the City of Red Deer.
First of all, the City landed the rights to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games just last month. And just last week, residents learned that Red Deer will host another huge event in 2016 – the MasterCard Memorial Cup tournament.
The Western Hockey League made the announcement last week that the tournament will be held in Red Deer May 19-29, 2016 and will mark the 98th edition of the Canadian Hockey League National Championship.
Red Deer was up against Vancouver in its hopes to host the event, and the decision was made by a majority vote of the WHL board of governors Oct. 8th in Calgary.
This marks the first time Red Deer has hosted the MasterCard Memorial Cup while the Rebels become the first Alberta-based Club to host the event since 1974. The Rebels were also crowned MasterCard Memorial Cup Champions in 2001.
The 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup will be hosted by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Quebec Remparts next May in Quebec City.
The Memorial Cup, one of the most prestigious and coveted trophies in North American sport, has a rich tradition that has shaped the way junior hockey is played in North America. The trophy 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 The First World War.
In 2010 the Memorial Cup was rededicated to the memory of all fallen Canadian Military Personnel.
Initially the Cup was awarded to the national junior hockey champions of Canada. Later on it came to signify Junior ‘A’ hockey supremacy when in 1934, junior hockey in Canada was divided into ‘A’ and ‘B’ classes. In 1971, when junior ‘A’ hockey was divided into major junior and Tier 11 junior A, the Memorial Cup was awarded to the higher category and was given to the major junior hockey champions of Canada.
The Memorial Cup became an international trophy in 1983 as the tournament was held outside Canada for the first time, when the Portland Memorial Coliseum was the host arena. The hometown Winter Hawks took home the title that year to become the first non-Canadian based team to win the Memorial Cup.
With these recent announcements, there is indeed much to look forward to as Red Deerians. We have no doubt that residents will get behind the local organizing efforts.