By Steve Even, The Province
Vancouver Giants owner Ron Toigo said Monday that he’s putting forth the paperwork for his team to apply to the WHL to host the 2016 Memorial Cup, but there’s a little more competition than he probably bargained for.
The Red Deer Rebels, as expected, are submitting a bid by Tuesday’s application deadline, according to an email reply from owner/operator Brent Sutter.
What’s surprising is that the Victoria Royals are also joining the fray, according to general manager Cameron Hope. Victoria had stayed quiet about their interest to date.
“I think you need a place where there’s a groundswell of support. I think Vancouver could be one of the places, Red Deer could be one of those, but I also think Victoria could be one of those places,” said Hope.
Tuesday’s deadline is just the first of several stages, according to Toigo. The league will go over the bids and ask for business plans by September. There will be a meeting after that, on a date to be announced, where teams will make proposals to the league governors.
The Vancouver-hosted national championship tournament in 2007 was one of the most successful of all time, with average paid attendance of 13,496 for the nine-game event.
Red Deer put in for 2013 and lost out to the bigger-budget Saskatoon Blades. Saskatoon struggled much of that year, the rink sat idle for 51 days after the team was eliminated from the first round of the playoffs, and average attendance for the event was only 9,167.
Red Deer’s home rink has a capacity listed at 7,000. Victoria’s is 7,006. Vancouver can get to 16,281.