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Sorry, Barrie. You, too, Windsor. 2014 Memorial Cup will likely go to London

- April 17th, 2013

The presentations have been made, the speeches made and the stuffed, sealed, plain white envelops handed over to the men who will decide which city will host the 2014 Memorial Cup…

OK, before the lawyers start contacting me, yes, I jest. In the last part of that statement, anyway.

On Wednesday, representatives of three teams — the London Knights, Barrie Colts and Windsor Spitfires — made their formal bid presentations to host next year’s junior hockey championship tournament. The five member site selection committee, which does not officially include OHL commissioner David Branch, will make an announcement on the winning bid in early May.

“The Ontario Hockey League had a most exhilarating day with three strong bid presentations,” Branch said in a statement.  “All three clubs did a most professional and thorough presentation showcasing their community and various elements which demonstrate their passion for this event.”

Uh, yeah, passion. Sorry, got a little distracted by the hyerpole, there.

I’d like to say the winner will be the most deserving bid but, honestly, I can’t bring myself to do that. I’m fully expecting the Knights’ bid to win, even though London last hosted the Memorial Cup in 2005, a mere eight years ago.

Based on the three-year rotation for the tournament — the OHL, WHL and QMJHL take turns hosting it — only two Ontario teams have held the Memorial Cup since London. Now, does it seem right, fair, whatever word you want to use, that London is even eligible to bid this time around?

Of course it’s not fair. If it was, every team would eventually get a chance to host the Memorial Cup. As it stands now, only a select few have that opportunity.

Why is that? Duh. Money, of course.

A couple of million bucks, guaranteed money to the league, will go a long way to helping iron out any other kinks a bid might have. Some teams can put up that kind of dough, others can’t. It’s pretty simple, really.

London has a big enough arena and crowd support to make the Memorial Cup financially viable, never mind the other factors — city infrastructure, expected quality of the team — that are allegedly part of the bid equation.

The Knights will also be in 2013-14 the best team of the three making bids, hands down.

The Spitfires were pretty bad this year and aren’t expected to make huge strides next season, at least not enough to make them a contender for the OHL title. The Colts still have their arena issue to deal with (BMC is a little under-sized) and, frankly, will lose a ton of talent after this season.

Should London get the Memorial Cup next year? Hell no. It’s way too soon for one of the country’s best teams to get another free shot at the big prize. (Yeah, yeah, I know, they won the league championship in ’05 before winning the Memorial Cup, so no free pass; you get what I mean, though).

The selection committee should pass on Windsor, too.

The Colts should get the 2014 Memorial Cup, if for nothing else their persistence. Doesn’t Barrie bid every time it’s the OHL’s turn to host the damn thing? Sure seems like it.

But Barrie won’t get it. I’m as sure of that as I am that I’ll never be a rich man.

So, London, get ready to party like it’s 2005.

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2 comments

  1. Todd | April 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Couldn’t agree more! It is pathetic in my opinion that the main objective of a player development league is always money. And it is a known fact that a Memorial Cup hosting team wins financially. So why not share that around?
    I assure you even the small market teams could host a top notch event…no question…and why should they not have the opportunity?
    It is a well known fact that the Knights are one of a few “Have” teams in the league that the rest struggle to compete with.
    So in my mind why not let the rest of the teams in the league have the same opportunities as thy continue to be handed?
    My vote is for Barrie…regardless of a couple to few seats?
    Go Colts Go

  2. Bill | May 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I think it should go to barrie their is more people that like hockey in like barrie north bay oro medento orillia brace bridge graven hurst then London who has no people that cheer for their knights or support their team

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