4 after 2020 Memorial Cup

It's a crowded field of cities hoping to play host to the 2020 Memorial Cup.

Four cities, including Kelowna, are officially preparing bids for the Western Hockey League 2020 event.

Kelowna is joined by Kamloops, Victoria and Lethbridge.

Victoria and Lethbridge made their intentions officially known during league meetings this week in Vancouver.

Kelowna hosted the 2004 Memorial Cup, but lost out to Saskatoon in 2013. Kamloops played host in 1995.

Neither Victoria nor Lethbridge have hosted the event.

In other league news, Kelowna Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton was re-elected chairman of the board for another two-year term.

Hamilton has been board chairman since 2008. He also held the position from 1998 through 2004.

The Western Hockey League will also take additional measures to address player safety. The league says it will introduce new supplemental discipline regulations, and raise the standard on illegal checks to the head.


Rockets pre-season sked

The Kelowna Rockets have released their 2018 pre-season schedule.

As was the case a year ago, the Rockets will play just four exhibition games, and will not play on the final weekend before the start of the regular season.

With so many players off to NHL training camps at that time of the pre-season, Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton said it was difficult to ice a full 20-player squad for that final pre-season weekend.

The Rockets will play three of their four exhibition games on home ice again this season.

The schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, Aug. 31 vs. Victoria
  • Saturday, Sept. 1 vs. Prince George
  • Friday, Sept. 7 in Kamloops
  • Saturday, Sept. 8 vs. Kamloops

The regular season schedule should be released soon.

Rocket hopefuls get invite

Two potential future Kelowna Rockets are on Hockey Canada's radar.

Ethan Bowen and Ethan Ernst have both been invited to Canada's national under-17 development camp.

Both are among 111 players invited to the camp, which begins the process of selecting three teams to represent Canada at the 2018 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Bowen, selected by the Rockets in the second round of the 2017 bantam draft, had nine goals and 34 points in 27 games with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in the BC Major Midget Hockey League.

Ernst, selected a round later in the same 2017 draft, notched 22 goals and 48 points on 52 games last season while toiling with the Notre Dame Hounds in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.

The week-long camp runs from July 21 to 27.

Following the camp, players will continue to be evaluated through the early portion of the 2018-2019 season.

The 66 players selected to participate under the Canada black, red and white banners, will compete at the under-17 challenge Nov. 3 to 10 in New Brunswick.



Rockets bid hits the road

Members of the Kelowna 2020 Memorial Cup bid committee are back in town following a fact-finding mission in Regina.

Committee chair Tom Dyas, and other dignitaries including Mayor Colin Basran and Tourism Kelowna's Harvey Hubball spent time in Regina last week as guests of the City of Regina and Regina Pats to celebrate the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup.

The committee says it left Regina feeling "invigorated" and filled with many great ideas on how to shape their bid moving forward.

Kelowna, Victoria and Kamloops are all bidding for the 2020 CHL championship, however Dyas says he's confident in the city's ability to be successful.

“The City of Kelowna is well positioned to host the 2020 Mastercard Memorial Cup. We have the perfect venue, and we've made significant investments in infrastructure across the city but more importantly, we have the most supportive and engaging community in Canada,” said Dyas. 

Along with a week of hockey, the city could also realize between $12 to $15 million in economic spinoff.

Dyas added the hockey community can increase the prospects of a successful bid by selling out the team's allotment of season tickets.

He says that will show the community's commitment and desire to host the event.

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