Surprising news came out of Halifax yesterday afternoon and it was related to their junior hockey team.
The Halifax Mooseheads officially announced that they will make an “aggressive” attempt to host the MasterCard Memorial Cup in 2012, which will be the QMJHL’s next time to host the national event.
"I played in the 1977 Memorial Cup (with Ottawa) and I would love to be part of hosting this tournament in Halifax," Mooseheads owner Booby Smith said to the Chronicle-Herald Tuesday from his home in Arizona. "We think our team is going to be very good."
"Halifax has an excellent track record of hosting big events and I think our fans will love it."
Of course, the Saint John Sea Dogs front office has done everything but jump in front of an uncoming bus to try and land the tournament. The Sea Dogs announced that they were planning on bidding for the tournament last season.
Sea Dogs president Wayne Long told CHSJ News that he isn't spending a lot of time thinking about who else is in the running. The rest of the article made little sense.
As of right now, Saint John, Halifax, Cape Breton, Shawinigan, and possibly Chicoutimi are planning on bidding to host the event.
“We’re not just throwing our hat in the ring and saying, ‘Hey, if nobody else wants it, we’ll take it,’” Smith said to Metro Halifax. “We’re going to work hard at it, we’re going to do innovative things, and we’re going to make it very hard to say no to us.”
Saint John does have a few things going in their favour. They hosted a successful 2008 ADT Canada/Russia Challenge and announced that over one million dollars will be put towards score clock renovations in the off-seasons. Halifax has also hosted the tournament before, in 2000.
Attendance records are not listed that far back, but the Mooseheads did get over 80,000 fans in the Metro Centre over the course of the 2000 season according to Metro.
The QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League will announce the winner in April, 2011. The Ontario Hockey League hosts the four team event next year, with the Windsor Spitfires by far the frontrunners in that bid. Brandon is hosting the Memorial Cup this year in May.
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
5 per cent: finances
The Sea Dogs have put most of their eggs in one basket by not buying at this years trade deadline in order to have a competitive team in 2012, something Smith assures the Mooseheads will be.
“We’ll have a very easy time making a case that we’ll be a very strong team that year,” Smith said.
On paper, Saint John looks like they will have the better team than Halifax with the likes of Nathan Beaulieu, Zach Phillips, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Tomas Jurco ready to lead the Sea Dogs.
The selection committee is made up of either league officials or a group that is not involved with hockey operations in the QMJHL. Former New Brunswick premier Bernard Lord helped select Rimouski for the 2009 Memorial Cup.
In case you are wondering, there is no rule that says the QMJHL Memorial Cup host will always be rotated between Quebec and Maritime teams. After 2012, the next time the ‘Q’ hosts the tournament will be in 2015 when the likes of Quebec City and Moncton will be set up to bid again.