Bidding for the Memorial Cup
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles announce plan to submit bid to stage the 2012 Memorial Cup.
SYDNEY — The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hope to host what the team president called “the most prestigious hockey tournament in the country” during a press conference at Centre 200, Thursday.
Paul MacDonald confirmed the local Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team will submit a bid to stage the 2012 Memorial Cup.
“Make no mistake, we need the community to rally around this endeavour,” said MacDonald, who was joined by Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor John Morgan, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation CEO John Lynn and Events Nova Scotia director Grant MacDonald during his announcement.
“ We’re quite confident we’re going to win.”
The most pressing issues for the Screaming Eagles with respect to hosting the Memorial Cup are preparing a budget, completing renovations at Centre 200 and having a competitive team in place for the 2011-12 season.
“ We’re working through the process of the budget,” said Paul MacDonald, adding that staging the event would likely cost between $3.5 million and $4 million, with that cost to be offset by ticket sales, sponsorships and government contributions, none of which has been nailed down.
Renovations at Centre 200, slated to be completed this fall, include increasing seating to about 5,000, 13 new skyboxes, club seating and work to the con- cession area. A $700,000 video scoreboard has already been installed.
“I think Centre 200 fits perfectly for the Memorial Cup,” said the Eagles president when asked if 5,000 seats is enough, adding that the 10-day event would likely attract 2,000 visitors. “ We’re comfortable.”
He added the Screaming Eagles organization is confident it will ice a competitive team come 2011-12, an important point in that the host squad automatically gets a spot in the tournament.
“One of your major criteria is your hockey club,” said Paul MacDonald. “ That would be the thing that we’re going to work on the most. We had to give up some assets to allow us to be competitive this year. But I know from the hockey staff ’s point of view, they were comfortable in doing that. If we’re going to host, we want to win.”
Events Nova Scotia, funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the province with the mandate of helping “all Nova Scotia communities target, attract and host major events,” will prepare the Screaming Eagles’ bid.
Grant MacDonald said the other Nova Scotia team bidding for the 2012 Memorial Cup — the Halifax Mooseheads — hasn’t officially asked Events Nova Scotia for help with its bid.
“But we certainly wouldn’t rule it out,” he said, adding that the bids would be kept separate if the organization was asked to assist both teams.
“ We have entered into an agreement with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and ultimately this bid will be their property,” said Grant MacDonald. “ We will put all of our weight behind this bid to ensure that it is successful and that it is winnable.”
Lynn said ECBC will assist the Screaming Eagles financially if its bid is accepted.
“ We don’t know the level of that financial support until the budget is completed,” said Lynn, adding that ECBC employees will help out with the bid process. “ We will allocate human resources and expertise to the committee to ensure that the bid as good as it can possibly be.”
The Memorial Cup involves the champions of the QMJHL, the Western Hockey League and the Ontario Hockey League, along with a host club, competing in a round-robin series, with the two top teams playing off in a suddendeath game for the championship.
The 2012 Memorial Cup host team will be announced in April of 2011. In addition to the Eagles and the Mooseheads, the Shawinigan Cataractes and the Saint John Sea Dogs are said to be interested.
The 2010 Mastercard Memorial Cup is being held in Brandon, Man., May 14-23.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles president Paul MacDonald announced the team will submit a bid to stage the 2012 Memorial Cup during a press conference at Centre 200 in Sydney, Thursday.