Friday, February 26, 2010

EAGLES: “We’re quite confident we’re going to win”

The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles are hoping to throw a wrench into the Saint John Sea Dogs’ 2012 plans. Yesterday afternoon, the Eagles organization officially announced that they will bid on the 2012 MasterCard Memorial Cup.

“We’re quite confident we’re going to win,” said president Paul Mac Donald in the Cape Breton Post. The Eagles, Sea Dogs, and Halifax Mooseheads have all officially said that they will be bidding. Shawinigan is also reported to be making an offer on the tournament.

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 concession area. A $700,000 video scoreboard has already been installed. Saint John announced a few weeks ago that they will have a new clock up in time for next season and already have a number of luxury suits. Harbour Station has a capacity of 6,297.

The major hurdle that the Eagles will face is the quality of their team on the ice. The bid process is done by looking at seven different categories: 25 per cent logistics (accreditation, transportation, lodging and volunteers), 20 per cent hockey operations, 20 per cent arena, 10 per cent organizing committee, 10 per cent marketing, 10 per cent hosting of CHL events, and five per cent finances.

Despite what logic says about the Eagles team in 2012, the organization is confident they will ice a competitive team.

“One of your major criteria is your hockey club,” said 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.”

Even with the two best teams in the league in their division this year, Cape Breton chose to buy at the deadline instead of building for the future. There method of trying to put a solid team on the ice each year has been ridiculed by fans as the team falls short in the playoffs on most occasions.

Saint John and Halifax will be at the top of their game in 2012, which will make it difficult for the Eagles like it was this year.

“We’ll have a very easy time making a case that we’ll be a very strong team that year,” Mooseheads team president Bobby Smith said a few weeks ago.

This year’s tournament will be held in Brandon, Manitoba in May.

The winner will be announced in April of 2011.

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