The Lacombe Generals will host Senior AAA hockey’s holy grail in 2019.
An announcement came from Hockey Alberta Wednesday afternoon that the Generals were named the host for the 2019 Allan Cup, the national senior AAA Men’s Hockey Championship.
Generals GM Jeff McInnis, who has been t0 11 Allan Cup events across Canada, said he can’t wait to showcase the calibre of hockey that the tournament will bring in 2019.
“I’m really excited because I’m so passionate about this hockey. I’m crazy for it. We’ve got this thing going on in Lacombe that we think is special,” McInnis said.
“We think this will give us the ability to show it off. We’ve got something going on in Lacombe, for our brand it is great. Our hockey struggles – so here’s a chance for it to really shine because of the venue and the city. We’ve got something that is the perfect storm for that tournament.”
The Allan Cup, which takes place annually in April, will feature six teams from across the country in a round-robin pool play event, followed by single elimination playoff to determine a champion.
Teams have competed for the Allan Cup since 1909 and the Generals were champions in 2009, 2013, 2016 and a finalist last year. The 2018 Allan Cup will be in Rosetown, Sask.
Formally known as the Bentley Generals, the club hosted the tournament in Red Deer in 2013, and will lean on that experience when it arrives in 16 months time.
“We were able to reach out to the people that were involved back then, some are still involved with the team. We were able to lean on their experience as well,” former Lacombe mayor and Bid Committee Chair Steve Christie said.
“The City of Lacombe came through with some logistics and making it all happen as well. It’s been a team effort from the start, way back to when the Generals started playing in Lacombe, it’s something we talked about – that was a goal one day.”
With renovations on the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex completed this year, Christie said playing host made perfect sense for all involved.
Christie noted that the process came together rather quickly in December and once their submission was in and the bid deadline of Dec. 29 had passed, the group was left waiting until this week for the official word from Hockey Alberta.
“Over the moon,” Christie said of his reaction when he found out they would host the event.
“To be representing such a prestigious event with the Lacombe Generals. With the City of Lacombe, along with the committee, it’s something that since they moved into Lacombe that we’ve talked about. We weren’t sure if we were actually going to go through and put a bid in. We put our heads together and made it happen. It’s a great day.”
Both the Innisfail Eagles and Stony Plain Eagles also submitted bids to host the tournament.