Go for it! Let's bid on 2011 Mem Cup

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

IN BRAMPTON -- Should the London Knights bid for the 2011 Memorial Cup tournament?

They went for it in 2005.

That worked out well.

The Knights won it all on home ice. One of the top sporting moments in London history.

The club threw the hat in the ring again for the 2008 Cup. They entered back-to-back bids.

But that went to Kitchener.

Not many gave that Knights' effort much of a chance. Some thought London's presence was simply to raise the level of competition in the bid process.

But the Knights were serious then.

They should try again. What is there to lose?

There isn't any worry about the ability to stage another Cup.

The Canadian figure skating championships are on tap in January. The Brier is on tap.

Why not another memorable Memorial Cup to make it a Triple Crown of big events?

London GM Mark Hunter is biding his time.

"I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "We won it in 2005. We went through the process again (for '08) and lost the bid. We respect the process, it's a good one. We still have some time before we have to make a decision (on 2011)."

One thing will sway everything.

Players.

"You have to look at your roster," Hunter said. "That's what you look at before anything else."

Can the Knights guarantee they'll be good enough to bid?

That's the unknown.

The Memorial Cup will be held in Brandon next spring. Then, it's the OHL's turn again.

A London bid would by no means be a favourite.

Windsor enters as the frontrunner.

Battered by the economy but armed with a new arena, it's a fine sentimental choice.

Warren Rychel has built his Spitfires to last. They are expected to be strong again in 2010-11.

But there's little chance Ryan Ellis and Taylor Hall would be back to take part. Those guys should be NHL-bound next fall.

So it's Brandon or bust for this Spits' edition.

Barrie and Mississauga are poised to be good again. Oshawa, with the fruits of the John Tavares trade, is young and up-and-coming. The Eastern Conference hasn't held the Cup in a long time.

Maybe it's their turn this time around.

But this is a big decision for the Hunters.

There will be two Cup spots available next year.

Do you go for it again this season by taking on Windsor or trade some key pieces now and revamp for next season?

The Knights have a lot of similar-style forwards right now.

They could use a few of those to coax out a true sniper or another older defencemen and make a run this time.

Judging by yesterday's 2-0 defeat to the Brampton Battalion, it's clear the offence needs an overhaul.

Not enough willingness to go to the front of the net.

The powerplay is still broken. So Mark Hunter has big moves to ponder. There are some reasons to hope next year.

A hard-nosed guy with hands like Thunder Bay's Michael MacDonald is poised to become a front-line player.

He's an industrious rookie forward who will go to the tough spots on the ice --what he calls "playoff-style hockey".

He's getting ice time in now. So is rookie defender Scott Harrington. Michael Houser has been a revelation in goal.

Maybe next year won't be as bleak as once thought.

So Cup bid or not?Of course they should.

The Hunters want to win.

Why miss an opportunity to get into the big dance once again?

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca


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