In case you haven’t heard; the Soo Greyhounds in conjunction with the Corporation of the City of Sault Ste. Marie will be formally making a submission to host the Kia Memorial Cup in May of 2021. It’s definitely a big deal whether you are a hockey fan or not, and it’s an even bigger deal if you R a hockey fan…. a Soo Greyhounds hockey fan to be more precise.
In a press release, President and Governor of the Hounds stated “We believe the time is right for our team, our fans, and community at large, for us to put forward a proposal to be the host; we are working closely with the city to develop a bid to highlight the attributes that we believe will make us a strong contender for this prestigious event,” Lukenda added.
“There is a passion and commitment to junior hockey and our Soo Greyhounds that runs strong and deep in Sault Ste. Marie, and I am confident that the same passion and commitment would be brought to hosting the 2021 Memorial Cup. This is a great opportunity to showcase our community and we are committed to supporting the Greyhound organization in making this bid.” Mayor Christian Provenzano stated as well.
With one of the best-run organizations in the junior ranks Canada wide in the last 10 years, superior drafting, developing, management and coaching, the Hounds have put themselves in a position to be a contender next year with all but two players on the current roster eligible to return.
Majority owner Tim Lukenda met with his ownership team and management, and in the course of a couple of weeks, it was decided that it was the right time to go all in. I personally think the star quality of newly added goaltender Nick Malik was the component they needed to confirm before they came to the decision.
Of course, this year has had its ups and downs, but that is junior hockey. You develop and make strides for a few years and then as per attrition, you generally have a rebuilding campaign. The leadership led by the twin Kyles of Dubas and Raftis has avoided that as the Soo Greyhounds have made the playoffs every year since 2013 consecutively. This year is going to be tight, but I personally believe we will squeak in; the rush from the submission will surely have the boys jacked to play better than we have seen lately.
When Tims’s father Dr. Lou passed away a few years ago, it was his wish that the Hounds remain in the Soo and be left in good hands. His son Tim is a carbon copy of his father in many ways as he and the rest of the owners are going to be submitting their bid knowing that losing money on the venture is a real possibility and just the prospect of breaking even is something that they are comfortable with.
For many years, the Memorial Cup has been played in large markets and arenas that hold NHL capacity audiences. For whatever reason, there is a trend to start going back to the original sized venues and for good reason. These are the markets that have supported junior hockey year in and year out.
Sault Ste Marie for whatever reason has always had a strong and supportive fan base, and it is no stretch to say that every one of the games in the tourney would be sold within days of the tickets going on sale.
Not only will the Greyhounds and the City benefit if the bid is successful, but the local restaurants and hotels will also receive a good kick in the pants financially.
To say the battle is uphill is putting it mildly. One of the other municipalities to submit will be Oshawa with an even bigger arena and population base. This will be their 3rd bid in the last 10 years as the two previous have not been successful. Let’s hope that politics doesn’t get in the way and sway the vote based on previous submissions.
The last time we hosted the Cup was in 1993 and we also hoisted the Cup by defeating the Peterborough Petes to win the prized possession.
Sault Ste Marie and the Hounds must show the deciding committee that the tickets will be sold and the event will be flawless in terms of transportation, accessibility, and professionalism.
Oh yeah, one last thing; I have written at least 3 articles over the years in regards to my thoughts on revitalizing the downtown. I have tried to get someone on board to paint the Memorial Tower as it looks dreadful with its bland colour and the paint peeling. In a tourist town of sorts and a location that can be seen from the International Bridge, it is of my opinion that the city should make it made presentable, painted and maintained at all times. Well, my point after this long-winded paragraph is that this face is going to get some nice makeup ; red and white preferred; all we have to do is seal the deal and bring the Kia Memorial Cup 2021 to Sault Ste. Marie.
Let’s keep our paws crossed.
Go Hounds Go !!!