The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Telus Cup ‘up in the air’ for Cape Breton in 2022
SYDNEY, N.S. — With uncertainty around every corner due to the ongoing global pandemic, the president of the 2022 Telus Cup host team says it is no different than any other event.
Walter Rutherford of the Sydney Mitsubishi Rush said the national major under-18 hockey championship, which is scheduled to be hosted at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre in Nova Scotia next April, is “still up in the air".
“Where we’re going to be for next year, I honestly don’t know,” he said. “We’re still the host but whether it goes or not, I can’t give a definite answer to that right now because there’s so many unknowns.”
The Rush was originally scheduled to host the Telus Cup this week.
However, Hockey Canada moved the hosting rights to 2022 last May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 Telus Cup tournaments in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.
The Telus Cup will include five of the top under-18 major teams from across the country plus the host team and feature players between the ages of 15 and 17 — some of whom will likely be drafted by Canadian Hockey
The event was known as the Air Canada Cup from 1979-2003 and renamed the Telus Cup in 2004.
The Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Knights and Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild play a provincial championship to determine a representative for the Atlantic tournament. The winner from the Atlantics advances to the Telus Cup.
Rutherford said one of the questions moving forward will be getting corporate sponsorship to make the event successful but admits he doesn’t know where the community will be next year.
“We had our list of sponsors who we felt we were going to get money from,” he said. “Everything has been in limbo since the pandemic started, and we don’t know where anyone is right now — we haven’t had conversations with sponsors.”
Rutherford said costs and expenses come with hosting a national tournament, noting when teams arrive in Nova Scotia, the organizing committee is responsible for all costs.
“We’re talking major dollars,” he said. “We don’t have multi-million dollars coming in from television rights to pay for all the things — the costs are still going to be high, everything from the hotel, meals, etc.
“What some people don’t understand or don’t know is that Hockey Canada is the host of the Telus Cup, but the organizing committee is totally responsible for all costs — Hockey Canada doesn’t put a lot of money into this.”
With current restrictions in place, no more than 200 fans would be allowed inside the Membertou facility to watch the tournament, which is another concern for Rutherford.
“Are we going to be able to put 1,000 people in the arena next April, I don’t know,” said Rutherford. “The tournament is really dependent on having fans there. It’s not like we have multi-billion-dollar owners who are not worried about these things.”