Winnipeg will present its bid for the 2007 women's world hockey championship today in Calgary, and at least one member of the committee is feeling mighty fine about its chances.
"Everyone involved in the event is extremely confident," Hockey Manitoba executive director Peter Woods said yesterday from Cowtown. "We've put together as good as bid as we can, and everyone feels comfortable with that."
Toronto is the only other city that will present a bid to Hockey Canada today. The winner will be announced Jan. 15.
Woods feels Winnipeg's bid has a lot going for it.
For starters, it would host the championship at the MTS Centre, whereas Toronto would conduct the event at the smaller Ricoh Coliseum.
"We're operating the event out of the No. 1 facility in Winnipeg," Woods said. "The other bid does not have that luxury.
"They're at the Ricoh Centre, which is not the Air Canada Centre, is it?"
Secondly, Woods said there's a good chance that women's hockey won't be the centre of attention in Toronto in April.
"It's quite possible that they could be going head-to-head with the Leafs during that time period," Woods said. "The Leafs could have three games scheduled during that week at home.
"That's a huge advantage for us."
In addition, the AHL's Manitoba Moose, who inhabit the MTS Centre, traditionally go on a long road trip in early April, so there wouldn't be any conflicts.
That's not all, Woods said. Hockey Manitoba and True North Sports & Entertainment, which owns and operates the MTS Centre, have a great working relationship with Hockey Canada.
The three parties came together for last year's junior team camp, and they're also co-ordinating the upcoming women's hockey game between Canada and the U.S. at the MTS Centre on New Year's Day.
Hockey Canada should also expect to hear a healthy profit guarantee from the Winnipeg bid today. The 2004 women's worlds in Halifax made approximately $500,000, and you can bet Winnipeg's pledge will be worth more than that.
MTS president Cheryl Barker is chairperson of the Winnipeg group, and she will be joined in Calgary today by Kevin Donnelly, a True North vice-president, and Destination Winnipeg's Stuart Duncan and Ginette Lavack.
"We've done a tremendous job in such a short period of time," Woods said. "Destination Winnipeg -- and certainly True North and everyone involved in the bid application -- has done a tremendous job.
"There's no way that we would be in this position without the support of those groups. They've been outstanding."