WHL HOCKEY - CEO of Hockey Alberta Rob Litwinski, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer, WHL Commisioner Ron Robison and Red Deer Rebels Owner Brent Sutter were on hand for the announcement of Red Deer being the new host of the WHL Bantam Draft and the WHL Awards. Todd Colin Vaughan/Red Deer Express

WATCH: Red Deer to host WHL Bantam Draft and WHL Awards

Hockey Alberta also working to host 2019 Alberta Cup to create a new hockey festival

The rich get richer. Red Deer is once again going to be the home of a premier sporting event after securing the Western Hockey League (WHL) Draft and the WHL Awards for the next three years.

The Red Deer Rebels, working along with the City of Red Deer, were able to secure the event following the success of the 2016 Mastercard Memorial Cup, which was held at the Enmax Centrium.

“This community deserves these types of events based on the tremendous success of the 2016 Mastercard Memorial Cup where they really raised the bar,” WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said. “It told us at the Western Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League that this is a special community that has tremendous support for hockey.”

Robison said that Red Deer makes sense for the league due to it being a market that supports the WHL and the Rebels, and that they don’t share the market with the National Hockey League (NHL).

“We feel it is centrally located and a very well supported franchise,” Robison said. “They really deserve the opportunity to host national and international events like the Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL prospects game and the Ivan Hlinka Gretzky Cup. That all reflects the fact we have great confidence in this community and this organization.”

Along with the draft, Hockey Alberta is also working to bring the Alberta Cup for at least 2019 to Red Deer, with the hope that it takes place the week before the WHL draft — creating a week long hockey festival.

“We are hoping that the Alberta Cup, which is the last event our scouts attend prior to the annual Bantam Draft, could happen in Red Deer,” Robison said.

While plans are not set in stone for the Alberta Cup, Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski said they look forward to piecing the event together in coordination with the WHL.

“We would look at 2019 as the earliest day,” he said. “We have plans for Spruce Grove in 2018 that are going very well. Obviously, we would try to host it in the new Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.”

He added there is potential to stay in Red Deer following 2019 in order to accommodate the three year commitment from the WHL for the draft.

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said the City has positioned itself well to host these events.

“It marks another significant emergence event for Red Deer on the national and international sporting stage,” she said. “To attract this calibre of event to our community speaks to the quality of the amenities we offer here.

“The message we are hearing is that it is our community spirit, community pride and willingness to get it done that is attracting these major events.”

More information regarding dates and locations of the Awards, Draft and the Alberta Cup will be made available in the coming months.


Like us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedDeerExpress/and follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/RedDeerExpress.

Just Posted

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

Pride Days are Feb. 21st and 28th during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Events will be held at the 52 North Music + Cultural Festival

PHOTO: Meeting of the mayors

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer and Naheed Nenshi, mayor of Calgary enjoyed a meeting at the Winter Games Thursday.

Alberta to play for gold in wheelchair basketball

Action-packed first week of Canada Winter Games nearly a wrap

Boxers claim two silver medals for Alberta in wild night

Cole Brander of Edmonton fought for the gold medal against Avery Martin-Duval of Quebec

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Ponoka host to Bayer Crop Science seed innovations trade show

The company held a trade show with seed crop science industry partners at the ag event centre

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

Lacombe welcomes ‘Napalm Girl’ to discuss journey from hatred to forgiveness

Latest Herr Lecture to feature Kim Phuc Phan Thi at LMC

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Most Read