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.

todd.vaughan@reddeerexpress.com

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

Just Posted

WATCH: Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta hosts Barnyard Breakfast

FortisAlberta makes $10,000 donation to House operations

Innisfail RCMP charge woman in connection with seizure of eight dogs

Karin Adams, 46, of no fixed address faces dozen charges

WATCH: Red Deer’s Westerner Days kicks off to a smoking hot start

Thousands take in the food, entertainment, rides and more at Westerner Park

WATCH: 2018 Westerner Days Parade brings 1000s to downtown Red Deer

The parade begins five days of western fun and culture in Central Alberta

Innisfail RCMP seize eight dogs from hotel room following earlier arrest

Dogs were in distress and taken to an animal rescue organization

WATCH: Tune into What’s Up Wednesday

An overview of the week’s news in Red Deer

World’s translators push back on forcing Trump interpreter to testify

Democrats had asked translator to testify about Trump’s lengthy conversation with Putin in Helsinki

Canadian government threatens to retaliate if Trump imposes auto tariffs

U.S president had suggested that auto imports pose a national security risk to the U.S.

UPDATED: Airdrie man charged after Taser-like weapons seized

Canadian Border and Airdrie RCMP charged a man after an attempt to bring the weapons into Canada

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

Sylvan Lake is moving toward a greener town

The Town of Sylvan Lake is moving forward with a contract with Fogdog Energy

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of almost $140,000 value in Millet

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to past break and enter at a rural Wetaskiwin property

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Most Read