Moose in the hunt for Memorial Cup
Screaming Eagles still mulling over idea
SYDNEY — An announcement by Halifax Mooseheads owner and governor Bobby Smith on Tuesday that his team will bid to host the 2012 Memorial Cup isn’t fazing Cape Breton Screaming Eagles brass.
“I don’t think that changes anything,” said Screaming Eagles president Paul MacDonald, when informed of the announcement early Tuesday evening. “I think we’re moving forward and we’d like to explore the possibility of bidding ourselves.” MacDonald suggested to the
Cape Breton Post as far back as August of 2008 that the Screaming Eagles might look at putting in a bid to host the 2012 Memorial Cup. And last fall, he said team brass would likely know by November of 2009 whether or not they’d be submitting a bid. But he still wouldn’t commit either way, Tuesday.
“ We’re in the process of talking to the various groups and people we need to talk to,” he said, referring to Screaming Eagles officials, potential funding partners and volunteers.
“ It’s all-important to make sure they believe in the project. We’re going to put all our ducks in a row first. We want to make sure it makes sense for us and makes sense for the area.”
Smith pulled no punches in a letter sent Tuesday to Mooseheads season-ticket holders announcing his team’s intentions to make a bid.
“ We will be bidding aggressively to bring this event to Halifax” said Smith. “ With the team, the Metro Centre, the City of Halifax, and our tremendous fan base, we feel we have a great chance at hosting junior hockey’s biggest tournament in 2012.”
The Mooseheads hosted the event in 2000. Cape Breton has never hosted a Memorial Cup.
MacDonald said Cape Breton is also equal to the task.
“ You can’t worry about what other cities are going to do,” he said. “If you look at the events that have been held here in Cape Breton over the last 20 years, it’s staggering. Personally, I think we’d do a tremendous job as a host. But that’s not my decision alone.”
Shawinigan Cataractes officials have confirmed they’ll be putting in a bid for the 2012 tourney, and Saint John Sea Dogs brass are said to be interested as well.
“Sometime in the spring,” said MacDonald, when asked how late the Screaming Eagles would leave making an announcement either way, adding it could be earlier. “I don’t want to put a timeline on it. There’s no urgency right now.”
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League hasn’t even decided on a deadline for submitting a bid and won’t for several months, according to league commissioner Gilles Courteau.
“ We’ll talk about it in June and we’ll make different proposals,” Courteau said Tuesday of nailing down a bid deadline. “It’s going to be on the table for vote in August and as soon as it’s done we’ll make the announcement.”
He added that the 2012 Memorial Cup host team will be announced in April of 2011.
The Memorial Cup involves the champions of the QMJHL, the Western Hockey League (WHL), and the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), along with a host club, competing in a roundrobin series, with the two top teams playing off in a suddendeath game for the championship
The 2010 Mastercard Memorial Cup is being held in Brandon, Man., May 14-23.