Summerside will be a tough act for Greater Vernon to follow.
The Prince Edward Island community hosted the 2013 Royal Bank Cup national Junior A hockey championship, which culminated May 19 with the Brooks Bandits of Alberta beating the host Summerside Capitals 3-1 in the championship.
The 2014 tournament will run May 10 to 18 at Kal Tire Place (currently the Wesbild Centre).
“Summerside did a phenomenal job as hosts, the community was 100 per cent behind it,” said Mike Lane, co-chair of the Greater Vernon RBC organizing committee, who attended the second half of the week-long event with fellow chairperson Chris Collard.
Committee members Don and Betty Klepp attended the first part of the week in P.E.I.
“It’s going to be a benchmark for us to try and top,” added Lane. “Their facility was No. 1. It had the rink, an auditorium, whatever you wanted it was there.”
The new Summerside facility opened within the past five years, and also includes a swimming pool and horse racing track.
Plans for the 2014 RBC tournament are moving forward.
“We’ll be front and centre in the next week or two, engaging volunteers and having more ticket sale pushes,” said Lane.
The Vernon Vipers, who will be in the tournament as the host team, have made a couple of major player announcements, finalizing the trade with the Surrey Eagles Thursday that sent Vipers sniper Adam Tambellini to the Eagles (see page A19).
Surrey won the first-ever Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo, beating Brooks in the final to send both teams to the RBC Cup in Summerside.
The host Capitals beat Surrey in overtime in a semifinal.
“It helps our cause when the team makes announcements about new players,” said Lane. “It gets people excited for the upcoming season.”
Lane said the organizing committee is looking for about 200 volunteers in total, and currently sits at around 140.
Anybody willing to volunteer can sign up at the Vipers office in the Wesbild Centre or contact Betty Klepp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater Vernon RBC Cup is expected to have its own dedicated website, organized through Hockey Canada, up and running in a few weeks.
Ticket sales are also going well. Tickets can be purchased online through the Vipers’ website, vipers.bc.ca.
The 2014 tournament will mark the second time that Vernon followed Summerside in hosting the national Junior A championship tournament.
The first was in 1990, when the event was known as the Centennial Cup, and the host Vernon Lakers beat the BCHL champion New Westminster Royals 6-5 in overtime in the championship game at the Civic Arena.
It was the also the first time the tournament was a five-team event.
The host Summerside Capitals lost the 1989 final to the Thunder Bay Flyers in the final of the last four-team event.
The Lakers were the Western Canadian champs, but went 0-3 in Summerside.