A Cup for the ages

It has been 21 years since Red Deer hosted its last truly prestigious junior hockey event — the 1994 world championship.

It has been 21 years since Red Deer hosted its last truly prestigious junior hockey event — the 1994 world championship.

That drought will come to a conclusion next May when the city and the Red Deer Rebels present the 2016 Memorial Cup tournament, the national major junior championship.

“It’s going to be an exciting time … it will be the biggest amateur sporting event in our province since the (2012) world juniors (in Calgary and Edmonton),” said Rebels owner/president/general manager/head coach Brent Sutter, who guided his team to a Memorial Cup title in 2001 at Regina.

“The Memorial Cup is a tough thing to win and it’s obviously just as tough to host it,” he added. “But we’ve had a lot of people put a lot of time into this and our goal is to host a Memorial Cup that will never be forgotten. We want to set new standards as to how things have to be done.

“I’m not saying past Memorial Cups haven’t been great, but we want to take it to another level here.”

The Rebels were awarded the 2016 tournament in October of last year, marking the first time since 1974 that the province will stage the event.

“It’s absolutely insane that it’s been that long when every other (western) province has hosted three or four times and the U.S. has hosted three times since then,” said Sutter.

Sutter and various Rebels staff and host committee members — including team vice-president Merrick Sutter and organizing committee co-chair Ron LaRiviere — attended this year’s Memorial Cup tournament at Quebec City on a fact-finding mission, which is common for teams hosting the following year.

The difference between the Quebec City event and the tournament that Red Deer will host was obvious, noted Brent Sutter.

“It’s going to be different here. Quebec City is a bigger city, if you weren’t at the rink or the hotel you didn’t know it was going on,” he said. “Here, it’s going to be everywhere, and that’s pretty cool. This is going to be an outstanding event and wherever you are in the city you’re going to know about it.”

Off-ice activities will be numerous and will be staged mostly at Westerner Park, in the Parkland and Prairie Pavilions.

“The Parkland will host a combination of fan activity, merchandise sales, VIP space and the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Merrick Sutter. “The Prairie Pavilion will be the entertainment hub, with a beer garden and live entertainment.

“We’re still finalizing the official layout, but the two pavilions will be the core of the non-hockey activities. A good chunk of the Westerner Altaplex will be used.”

The event will require hundreds of volunteers, precisely how many is currently being determined.

“We’re just working on that now. We’ll be sending information out to the public in late October and it will be early November when we do our call out,” said Merrick Sutter.

Just Posted

Alberta is now below 3,000 active cases of COVID-19, as the province reported 2,639 Wednesday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer below 100 active COVID-19 cases for first time since March

69.7 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

A Comox Valley 55+ baseball team isa being organized for the 2021 season. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
18U AAA Carstar Braves start season strong

The Red Deer Carstar 18U AAA Carstar Braves started the Baseball Alberta… Continue reading

(Contributed image).
Online poetry reading to benefit Red Deer women experiencing period poverty

The Period Promise Poetry Powerhouse is a central Alberta collective of some… Continue reading

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

OTTAWA — Annamie Paul is firing back against the coterie of party… Continue reading

Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan leaves the Senate Chamber on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Bill to implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples clears Senate

OTTAWA — A landmark piece of Liberal legislation aimed at harmonizing Canada’s… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Alex Killorn (17) flips a shot on New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov (40) during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Sunday, June 13, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Russian goalies highlight Lightning-Islanders series

NEW YORK — Semyon Varlamov is the wily veteran, coming off a… Continue reading

Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime reacts during his ATP Tour Singles, Men, Round of 16 tennis match against Switzerland's Roger Federer in Halle, Germany, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Friso Gentsch-dpa via AP
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime upsets Roger Federer in second round of Noventi Open

HALLE, Germany — Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime earned one of the biggest victories… Continue reading

A course official keeps out of the sun on the seventh green during a practice round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
A different US Open than imagined at Torrey Pines

The spectacular ocean vistas will fill TV screens as usual, along with… Continue reading

A commuter pumps gas into their vehicle at a Esso gas station in Toronto on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Statistics Canada will say this morning how fast prices rose in May compared to the same month one year earlier amid expectations of a hot inflation figure for the second month in a row. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Annual inflation rate climbs to 3.6 per cent in May, highest in a decade

OTTAWA — Prices across the country rose at their fastest annual rate… Continue reading

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

OTTAWA — Better protections for the rights of air travellers, immediate refunds… Continue reading

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson speaks to media during the Liberal cabinet retreat at the Fairmont Hotel in Winnipeg, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2020. Wilkinson says Ottawa will step in to conduct assessments of new coal mines that could release the contaminant selenium.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Sudoma
Ottawa to review new steelmaking coal projects in Alberta’s foothills for selenium

The federal government will step in to conduct an environmental review of… Continue reading

Most Read