The Kelowna Rockets will not play host to the 2013 Memorial Cup.
The Rockets lost their bid for the national Major Junior hockey championship Wednesday when the WHL Saskatoon Blades were named as winners.
Kelowna, Red Deer and Saskatoon all made bids for the event before the WHL board of governors voted. The Rockets previously hosted, and won, the 2004 Memorial Cup.
“I feel bad for our committee because of the amount of work that went into this bid,” said Rockets’ president and GM Bruce Hamilton. “All three bids were very good. I thought Red Deer’s was exceptional and then Saskatoon blew the lid off the thing.”
A major difference in the bids was the involvement of the provincial governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan, who both made financial commitments to the bids in their respective provinces. Traditionally in B.C., the province doesn’t aid in bids for sporting events.
“I understand times are tough in B.C. but for all of us in the sports and culture industries who want to put on events, eventually there is going to have to be some funding needed to get some of these things,” said Hamilton. “Our bid was as good as we could make it as a private company.”
Heading into the bid process, the Rockets felt they had the basis for a championship team in 2013 with the young core of players they have assembled. Hamilton said instead of hosting the event, he thinks this team has what it takes to play in the Memorial Cup.
Hamilton also expressed joy for Jack Brodsky, the governor and president of Saskatoon, who Hamilton said deserves to host the tournament.
“I’m thrilled for Jack Brodsky because he’s a great guy within our league and he’s paid his dues,” said Hamilton.
In BCHL action Wednesday night, Paul De Jersey and Jujhar Khaira each supplied 2+1 as the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings bounced the Salmon Arm SilverBacks 6-3.
In Victoria, the Grizzlies erased a 4-0 second-period deficit and shaded the Nanaimo Clippers 5-4 in overtime on Mike Moran’s goal. Jarryd Ten Vaanholt earned 2+2 for Victoria, while Kyle Kramer pulled the hat trick for the Clippers.
The 7-0 Vernon Vipers meet the Chiefs tonight in Chilliwack and battle the Vees Saturday night in Penticton.