'Licking our wounds'

KEN WIEBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Manitoba took its best shot, but that wasn't good enough in the eyes of Hockey Canada.

So it was with a stiff upper lip that Manitoba Moose governor Mark Chipman and Hockey Manitoba excecutive director Peter Woods addressed the local media after Hockey Canada announced it had awarded the 2010 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship to the joint bid of Saskatoon and Regina.

Though quick to offer congratulations to the province of Saskatchewan for securing the event, it was tough to mask the regret of falling short.

"We knew their bid was going to be formidable and difficult to overcome," said Chipman, a key component to the bid presented by Winnipeg/Brandon. "That said, we really put our best foot forward and feel very confident that we didn't leave anything on the table. We stretched as far as we possibly could.

"It was a great experience to be a part of and unfortunately it just wasn't enough this time. We feel a sense of responsibility that we didn't get it done. The disappointment comes from knowing that the best you could do wasn't good enough."

"We put an exceptional bid together," added Woods. "Everyone put as much as we could behind it and it would have been tremendous for the province and the two centres.

"Who knows what the future holds, but it could be a considerable amount of time before we have an opportunity to look at something like this in the future."

With Saskatoon and Regina securing the 2010 event, it's down to Calgary and Toronto to compete for 2012, with the runner-up becoming the front-runner to nail down the 2015 event.

Saskatoon, which hosted the event back in 1991, had fallen short in each of its previous four attempts to bring the tournament back to Saskatchewan.

Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson said it was tough to get to the final decision, noting Saskatchewan's guarantee of $12.5 million (which included enthusiastic government support) was a little bigger (by roughly $1 million), and their commitment to improving existing hockey infrastructure (including a six-pad rink in Regina) were major factors, along with Saskatchewan's rich junior hockey roots.

"They had the five major junior teams, their 12 Junior A teams all really engaged. It was a provincial bid, not a two-city bid," said Nicholson. "We've been very good to Winnipeg. I certainly understand their disappointment. I just hope they'd like to get us back another time, because I'd love to be there."

Manitoba's bid included a plan to make upgrades to the Keystone Centre in Brandon and build at least two new arenas in Winnipeg, the sites of which had not been finalized.

While he was taking this loss as tough as any playoff defeat his Manitoba Moose have suffered, Chipman said he felt no ill will toward Hockey Canada.

"We've got a long history with them and I don't feel at all betrayed by them," Chipman explained. "We respect the process we went through.

"We're a competitive organization by nature, so we're licking our wounds, there's no doubt about that. I'd be dishonest to say this is just water off our back. But we'll be fine. We'll move on and keep this building busy."

The other unsuccessful bid came jointly from Halifax and Quebec City.

Though Saskatoon and Regina also made a proposal for the 2012 event, Chipman said he didn't regret having Manitoba take a run at both tournaments.

"We wanted to focus on one and we thought that improved our chances," he said.


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