Some pundits with little to do, their problem say their wives, were mulling over which Ontario city has the best chance to grab and run with the 2017 Memorial Cup. As some in the city know, Windsor’s council will spend $30,000, money it probably doesn’t have, to launch a campaign to prove the city is really itching, and itching bad, for the cup to be challenged locally.
Does the city have a chance?
It is an interesting question, seeing as how the cities bidding for the honour have not been identified. This is causing speculation to run wild around the province.
However, there are some among the pundits who figure Hamilton is the leader, if it is actually in the race. They base their opinion, and that is all it is, on some reports in the Hamilton Spectator of March 20 last year.
Here are the salient points.
The Steel City now has a brand new Ontario Hockey League team, the Bulldogs, and the competition would tell the world it had notched out a new position in hockey’s pecking order.
There is also the size of the famed Copps Coliseum. It was reputedly built to NHL standards in the hope a team would one day grace the cavernous building. Big usually wins in these things because the more seats the more money generated.
Back in 1990, when Hamilton hosted the tournament it drew 17,383. Few other Ontario rinks could compete with such a prolific revenue generator.
Windsor, of course, chickened out on going big time in the hockey arena leagues and built a moderate one, about half the size of London’s and about a third of Hamilton’s. It was, as was usual for then mayor Eddie Francis, half-baked.
It is certainly not large enough for prestigious events. Admittedly, Francis also failed to build a large enough natatorium downtown and the city has the embarrassment of paying $21 million to host a swimming competition and has to put it at the arena.
Ottawa is probably out. It is hosting the big 2018 event, a prized competition to commemorate one hundred years of the Cup.
Website the New Noof recently asked its readers who should win. This is not to say these cities entered the race, but from the response it might suggest Windsor’s arena is already too old.
Oshawa has a newish arena but will they have to quickly rebuild from their Cup champ team from last year? Kingston and Niagara both with new arenas, how are their teams? North Bay always has a contending team but will they choose to take the tournament north?
The London Free Press did some speculating on February 20 and suggested Windsor has the, “… $2.5 million in guaranteed cash (at least that was the previous going rate).”
Windsor, as some know, has no shortage of cash for flash-in-the-pan sports tourism events.
The Press also ruled in a few other teams after noting London is not bidding because, “… its 2014 experience didn’t pan out as hoped.” They suggested Kitchener and Mississauga could do a good job.
It ruled out Sault Ste Marie, which is busy with the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in the fall. But, the Free Press did place the Soo and St Catharines in the maybe category.
Also out of the running, says the Press, for now are Sudbury, North Bay, and Owen Sound. Apparently they will stay out in the cold, “… until the new rink fairy visits … same goes for Peterborough. Good luck getting Guelph back to the table and Barrie’s rink is too cramped in the concourses.”
Looks like the usual suspects might have an advantage. But, there may be a surprise.
A twist could unravel Windsor’s hopes. The event could, to make it more international, be hosted by the teams in Flint, Saginaw, or Erie. After the warm welcome the Americans recently showed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, it can be assumed they would do as well or better to host the cup playoff.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.