St. Catharines to be asked for concessions in IceDogs’ Memorial Cup bid

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Published December 12, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Will Canada's best junior hockey players land in St. Catharine' Meridian Centre for the 2024 Memorial Cup?

Hosting the Memorial Cup at St. Catharines’ Meridian Centre for the 2023-24 Canadian junior hockey championships would – at this moment – seem to be a longshot at best.

For starters, the winning bid has to go a competitive team since the hosts are automatically included in the tournament.

With the Niagara IceDogs in dead last in the OHL, touting a 7-16-4 record, how competitive they will be next season is anyone’s guess.

However, anyone who watches junior hockey will admit teams can go from the cellar to the penthouse in no time flat and that on paper, the IceDogs look much stronger than their 2022 games have shown so far.

At the moment, since the OHL is the host league for the 2024 championship, the IceDogs are up against three other teams – Kingston Frontenacs, Saginaw Spirit and Soo Greyhounds – all of whom are sporting better records.

That said, teams bidding on the cup have to get their ducks in a row and traditionally, that means that the potential hosting municipalities will be asked for concessions.

In a city staff report, due to land on St. Catharines council’s desks tonight (December 12), it would appear that the IceDogs are asking for slightly less than $360,000 in waived fees and facility upgrades, as well as closing down nearby arenas such as Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Centre for Cup teams’ off-site practices.

While that seems like a pretty big chunk of change, it is easily offset by the estimated $10 to $15 million in revenues that come into the cities or towns that win the bids.

As well, with the top junior teams across Canada playing the 10-day tourney (May 24 until June 2, 2024), St Catharines would have the eyes of Canada on them for that span, much as the Canada Games hosted by Niagara Region this past summer did.

While the IceDogs have submitted an intent to bid with the OHL, the fully-documented bid must be submitted by January 31, 2023.

Oddly while the St. Catharines Teepees won the national title in 1954 and again in 1960, the city has never hosted a Memorial Cup.

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