Memorial Cup moment

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

CALGARY - This is D-Day — decision day — for three WHL teams.

The Red Deer Rebels, Saskatoon Blades and Kelowna Rockets will make their final presentations to host the 2013 Memorial Cup.

The bid winner is expected to be announced around 4:30 p.m.

Rebels senior vice-president Merrick Sutter said the team’s fans have demonstrated they deserve to host the event.

“Our fan base ... the support we get is second to none and something that will be a big part of our presentation,” Sutter told the Red Deer Advocate. “The fans here have supported the team for 20 years. They deserve this more than anything.”

Red Deer has never had the Memorial Cup, although the Centrium did host the 1995 world junior tournament.

Kelowna just hosted the tournament in 2004, so it would be a longshot to see the CHL championship head back to Propera Place, which seats 6,007, so soon.

Saskatoon hosted the 1989 tourney and reached the final on home ice, only to fall to the Swift Current Broncos in overtime.

Blades owner Jack Brodsky said the fact the city just hosted the world junior championship in 2010 will benefit his club’s bid.

“We’ve got a great-sized facility,” Brodsky told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. “There were a lot of upgrades here during the world juniors. We’ve got a great city with a great population, a history of hosting events and supporting events like this.

“We’re very fortunate that our committee (for the Memorial Cup) are people that worked on the world juniors. We have an experienced team that’s ready to go back to work to put on another great hockey event. We think that’s a strength for us and it should be.”

Saskatoon’s Credit Union Centre boasts a capacity of 15,000.

The Centrium seats 5,735, but will undergo a major renovation next year which will include the addition of 1,000 seats and 14 private boxes. The additions will boost the seating capacity to around 7,000.

The WHL’s board of governors look at the building, the fan base, accomodations, and a number of other factors, including how good the on-ice product is expected to be.

“When you look at the history across the Western Hockey League, most of the time the host team ends up being a very competitive team in the tournament,” Brodsky told the StarPhoenix.

“We don’t think there’s any reason why we couldn’t expect that here.”

The Brandon Wheat Kings were the last WHL team to host the Memorial Cup, reaching the final in 2010, and the Vancouver Giants won in 2007 when the tournament was at the Pacific Coliseum.

Broncos worth big bucks

How much is a WHL team worth to a community?

According to a recent study, the Swift Current Broncos’ economic impact on the community last season was $6,174,099.

“Swift Current is a unique instance as the smallest market in the entire CHL,” Broncos board chairman Al Stewart told the Prairie Post.

“All things considered, the significance of the Broncos being in Swift Current holds heavier value than in all other markets.”

The U of S study showed the team brings $2,252,531 of 'new money' into the area annually.

Each playoff round is estimated to be worth $338,378.


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