Organizers of the 2013 Memorial Cup bid have scored a financial goal after Red Deer city council supported a $300,000 commitment on Monday.
A contingent of hockey enthusiasts, including Red Deer Rebels owner/president Brent Sutter, attended the council meeting to say why the money is needed as they bid for the national junior hockey championships.
Committee chair Darcy Mykytyshyn said the financial commitment is needed in the event the revenues from the cup fall short of meeting the commitment that the Western Hockey League needs to secure the bid. It’s hoped that the money won’t be needed, he added.
“We’re very excited that the city is stepping up and supporting the event,” said Mykytyshyn outside council chambers. “It’s a great demonstration by the city in terms of their belief, not only for the Red Deer Rebels, but in the importance of hockey in Central Alberta.”
Mykytyshyn said the committee will approach Red Deer County council for a financial commitment as well, but he declined to say what that amount may be.
The $300,000 amount is in keeping with what other municipalities have given to secure their bids.
The committee will also be approaching the provincial government for support.
“It hasn’t been here in 40 years in the province and by the time (it’s held in 2013), it will have been 42 years,” said Mykytyshyn. “We think Red Deer is in the best position to host it. It’s between the two largest cities in Alberta and it represents a geographic region of 3.5 million people so there’s no doubt we’re going to sell out this event.”
Red Deer faces two challengers, Saskatoon and Kelowna. The winning city will be announced on Oct. 13.
If Red Deer becomes host, Mykytyshyn said the entire area stands to win big.
The economic impact is estimated at $18 million.
Plus, Mykytyshyn said about 100 jobs will be created and more than $300,000 in tax revenue will be generated.
“It gives us tremendous community profile,” said Mykytyshyn, regarding the national exposure of these games.
Councillor Chris Stephan said this is one good reason why the city invested $1 million into expansion of the Centrium, where the Rebels play. Red Deer County gave $500,000 and the Alberta government has since stepped up with $1.75 million for the 2012 project.
Several councillors also said this tourney will be a great showcase for the 2013 City of Red Deer Centennial.