Stuart Ballantyne, senior vice-president operations for the Oilers Entertainment Group. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Stuart Ballantyne, senior vice-president operations for the Oilers Entertainment Group. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

An international junior hockey tournament is coming to Red Deer in 2018

City grants $75,000 to the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, to be co-hosted by Red Deer and Edmonton

Red Deer’s “rabid” obsession with Canada’s national sport is helping attract a major junior hockey tournament to the city.

Dozens of teenage hockey players from eight hockey “nations,” as well as hundreds of NHL scouts, will gather in Red Deer in August 2018 when the city co-hosts, along with Edmonton, the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.

City Coun. Ken Johnston sees it as a fantastic opportunity for Red Deerians to watch world-class games, while also showcasing this city on the international sporting stage. “Red Deer is a rabid hockey town… I’m very excited to support this request,” he said.

City council voted unanimously (in Coun. Buck Buchanan’s absence), to approve a funding request from the Cup’s three partner sponsors — Hockey Canada, Oilers Entertainment Group and Red Deer Rebels. They will receive a $75,000 municipal investment in the 2018 event, which will run partly in the new Servus Arena downtown.

With the city recovering from a recession, local businesses can sure use the boost, said Coun. Tanya Handley, and “there’s a clear return on our investment.”

Some $5-million is expected in economic spin-off to the two hosting cities, as well as “brand exposure” for Red Deer through social media and signage, said Stuart Ballantyne, senior vice-president operations for the Oilers Entertainment Group.

The “best-on-best” competition features young players from the United States, Russia, Sweden, Finland’s, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland as well as Canada. Ballantyne said it’s a major tournament for NHL scouting, attracting 300 to 500 scouts.

The Cup, named for a Czech hockey player and coach killed in a 2004 traffic accident, has been traditionally hosted in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, but Hockey Canada negotiated an opportunity for Canada to host it in 2018, 2020 and 2022. It’s hoped this country will continue to host every second year in perpetuity.

Ballantyne said the vision was always to have two co-hosting cities, with the games split between them. He noted Red Deer’s exceptional new arena, huge support of hockey and the Rebels, and proximity to Edmonton made it a natural choice.

If the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup catches on locally, and Red Deer remains a co-host, Ballantyne can see the games possibly moving to the larger Centrium in future.

The 2018 event will feature an Aug. 4 exhibition game between Team Canada and the Czech players in the Servus Arena, followed by two games a day from Aug. 6-8 in the same facility. The semifinals and medal games will be held Aug. 10-12 at Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Image from Facebook)
Rocky Mountain House store bars vaccinated customers

‘No proof the vax works and no proof it does not shed’

Bloc Québécois MP Sebastien Lemire rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, March 12, 2021. A Bloc Québécois MP has apologized for taking a screen shot of a Liberal MP who inadvertently appeared nude during virtual proceedings in the House of Commons last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bloc Québécois MP apologizes for taking nude photo of Liberal MP William Amos

‘I have no idea how that photo made its way into the media’

FILE - This Sunday, June 25, 2017, file photo shows TK Holdings Inc. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich. A driver in South Carolina is the latest person to be killed by an exploding Takata air bag inflator. Honda says that a faulty driver’s air bag blew apart in a crash involving a 2002 Honda Accord in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company wouldn’t give details of the Jan. 9, 2021, crash near Charlotte, North Carolina, nor would it identify the person who was killed. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
South Carolina driver killed by exploding air bag inflator

Drivers can check to see if their vehicles have been recalled

Hospital staff shift the body of a COVID-19 patient on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance at a specialized COVID-19 hospital in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Wednesday, April 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Low on beds, oxygen, India adds global high 314K virus cases

Government rushing oxygen tankers to replenish hospital supplies

A traveler wearing a protective mask, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, walks through the nearly empty JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport in Boston, Friday, May 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Charles Krupa
JetBlue expanding wings with service to Vancouver from New York and Boston

JetBlue will have to compete with Canadian airlines

Westerner Park’s Exhibition Hall was used as a vaccination clinic on Wednesday. A steady stream of people came to get their COVID-19 shots either by appointment or as walk-ins. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
No long lineups at walk-in vaccination site in Red Deer

A steady stream of people walked into Westerner Park on Wednesday to… Continue reading

A Blanding’s turtle (Gabrielle Fortin/Contributed)
Earth Day: Finding hope in an old sweater

During the pandemic, many of us have spent several months at home.… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says 1.7 million reusable masks have been ordered at a cost of $4.2 million.” (Advocate file photo).
Alberta teachers and education minister swap accusations of politicizing curriculum

EDMONTON — Education Minister Adriana LaGrange says the group representing Alberta teachers… Continue reading

FILE - In this March 19, 2021, file photo, people take pictures of the Olympic rings installed by the Japan Olympic Museum in Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)
Olympic bodies launch competitive series in virtual sports

Olympic body hopes to reach more young people

Linda Tomlinson
Gardening: Leave the lawn until the soil is dry

Spring is arriving, Alberta style with warm days, cold days and snow.… Continue reading

Silent protests were held recently in response to Red Deer Public Schools’ decision to reject a Pride Week in favour of a Diversity Week. Some former employees at Red Deer Public are saying the decision is misguided. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Letter: School board silencing Pride Week concern

While it has been our practice to not comment on matters arising… Continue reading

Most Read