City shortlisted for Memorial Cup

It’s down to the final three for which Western Hockey League club will host the 2013 Memorial Cup.

The Red Deer Rebels, the Kelowna Rockets and Saskatoon Blades have been announced as the potential hosts for major junior hockey’s national championship.

“We are very excited to be included on the shortlist of teams that will bid for the 2013 Mastercard Memorial Cup,” said Brent Sutter, owner and president of the Red Deer Rebels.

“There is still plenty of work to do, but this is positive news.”

The WHL, along with an outside committee, looked at the preliminary bids from Red Deer, Kelowna, Saskatoon, as well as Lethbridge and Prince George, before announcing the shortlist.

The league took each bids business model into account as well as how competitive each team is expected to be in 2013.

Each of the shortlisted teams will now continue working on their bids until Oct. 15, when they will make final presentations to the WHL board of governors, which will announce that same day which team and city will host the 2013 Memorial Cup.

“Our bid committee has been working hard and I’m confident they will put together a very competitive bid in October.” said Sutter.

Enhancing Red Deer’s chances to land the Memorial Cup are recently announced plans to expand the Enmax Centrium.

Westerner Park president Michael Donleavy unveiled plans for the expansion last Thursday, saying the $3.5 million dollars worth of upgrades will include the addition of 14 additional luxury suites and 1,000 new seats at the 6,000 seat arena.

Construction is expected to begin in May of 2012 and be completed by October of 2012.

Funding for the project will come from the province ($1.75 million dollars), the City of Red Deer ($1 million), and Red Deer County ($500,000) with Westerner Park expected to make up any shortfalls in construction costs.