The Kelowna Rockets organization has announced their intention to bid for the right to host the 102nd edition of the Memorial Cup in 2020.
The Rockets will be in partnership with the City of Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna and Prospera Place, as well as many local sponsors, volunteers, fans and officials working towards achieving this goal.
“We feel that it has been a long time (16 years) since we have had the privilege to host the Memorial Cup. From our perspective it’s a great opportunity for our organization and for our city,” Rockets Owner / President / General Manager Bruce Hamilton said. “From a hockey standpoint we feel very confident that we will have an extremely competitive team, and we will be in it to win the tournament. We feel that our fans deserve the opportunity to host this event again. The last time we hosted, we changed the course of the Memorial Cup and turned it into a festival. We know our city will do an even bigger and better job this time around. We’re looking forward to rolling our bid out, and we’re just thrilled to have Tom Dyas as our Chair, and of course it’s great to have our two former Co-Chair’s Bill Winters and Paul Mitchell available to help support Tom in any way he needs. We are positive the community will rally around this event and make it an even bigger and better celebration for the Western Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League for years to come.”
The Rockets have played host to the Memorial Cup once before. In 2004 Kelowna hosted the prestigious tournament. With Captain Josh Gorges, 18-year-old defenceman Shea Weber and eventual tournament MVP goaltender Kelly Guard bolstering down the Rockets D-zone, Kelowna went on to capture the 2004 Memorial Cup on home ice in front of a sold-out crowd at Prospera Place.
The Kelowna Rockets have won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions of the WHL four times and have played in the Memorial Cup five times, winning the tournament on home ice in 2004. The Rockets have also won seven B.C. Division titles.
The Rockets bid committee will now spend the next five months preparing their bid. They will present, along with the other competing teams, their bid at the Annual Governors meeting scheduled for October 3, 2018 in Calgary. After all teams have presented, the Governors will vote, and the winning team will be announced at the conclusion of the meeting.
Since opening in 1999, Prospera Place has played host to a long list of major events from co-hosting the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, hosting the Men’s Canadian Olympic Orientation Camp prior to the Olympics in Torino, hosting the WHL All-Stars vs. the Russian Selects during the 2009 Subway Super Series, hosting the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game, as well as many other hockey events, on top of the incredible list of musicians and performers to have played on stage at Prospera.