Chris Roberts/Courtesy of lloydminstersource.com
Lloydminster could be the final stop before the RBC Cup in 2015.
Last week, the Lloydminster Bobcats submitted their letter of intent to host the 2015 Western Canada Cup (WCC) to the Alberta Junior Hockey League, a newly-created tournament used to determine the two western seeds in the RBC Cup.
Nanaimo, B.C. was the host of last year’s inaugural event, and the 2014 WCC will be in Dauphin, Man.
Bobcats business manager Malcolm Radke said the team was looking to host a premier event for quite some time, and with an AJHL team set to host the WCC in 2015, the timing was perfect.
“We’ve been in charge now for coming up on three years and it’s really starting to come together for us,” said Radke on Sunday. “We just felt like we were ready.”
They have yet to submit a formal bid to host the event; the deadline to do so is Nov. 7, but Radke confirmed that will be done, as the club yearns to host, and, through initial responses, feels that the demand for an event of this calibre is more than enough.
“We kind of asked around the city, polled a few people,” said Radke. “We had a lot of support from the City of Lloydminster people and a few of the economic development-type people.”
Should the Bobcats host the tournament in 2015, they will welcome the league winners of the BCHL, AJHL, SJHL, and MJHL. If the ‘Cats are league champions in 2015, the AJHL runner up will assume the other spot in the five-team tournament.
Competition for the right to host will be tough, however, as three other teams submitted a letter of intent prior to last Thursday’s deadline. Last year’s RBC Cup-winning Brooks Bandits submitted a letter, as well as the Grande Prairie Storm and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.The decision will be made by the 16 AJHL governors later next year.
Radke said Lloydminster has proven itself capable of hosting big sporting events, pointing to the fact that this city is coming off of hosting the CCAA Volleyball Nationals, the Allan Cup and is set to host Hockey Day in Canada in January 2014.
“We feel like we have a fairly good chance, we can offer a lot that a lot of the other AJHL communities can’t really offer,” he added, also acknowledging the strong corporate support, as well as the development of two new hotels in the city.
AJHL commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk, in a press release, said the league is confident in all four potential host communities.
“We are confident in the unique abilities of all four potential host communities, and we look forward to the process of determining a host for the 2015 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup,” he said.
Just over two years ago, there was a strong possibility that the Bobcats could’ve been playing elsewhere as the team was going up for sale, but now Radke said the community-owned organization is stronger than ever, and ready to compete with the league’s top teams, both on and off the ice.
“Each year we get stronger and stronger as an organization, and I think the fact that we’ll even be able to compete in a bid like this is a sign of how far it’s come.”