By Scott Billeck
The Portage Terriers will be heading to the RBC Cup in 2015 thanks to a successful bid to host Canada’s premier Junior A hockey tournament.
The Royal Bank of Canada Cup was last held in Manitoba in 2012, when Dauphin play host and the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League lost in the final to the defending champion Vernon Vipers.
Naturally, the city of Portage la Prairie will be after a big turnout and hopes of local economic gain for the staple of the Junior A schedule.
“We are very excited that we are going to have the opportunity to host the RBC (Cup),” said Dave Patsack, co-chair of the bid and host committee. “We think it’s a great opportunity for the city, the Regional Municipality and the Portage Terriers to be exposed at a national level,”
Portage la Prairie made an unsuccessful bid back in 2009 for the 2011 RBC Cup so success this time is the product of a lot of hard work.
“Absolutely, we took the experience of the first bidding process, and our arena now is complete, when it wasn’t really complete then, it was just projected to be complete for that event,” said Patsack. “We are now up to speed and are now looking forward to hosting a great event.
It will be a chance for Portage la Prairie to showcase their brand new facility, Portage Credit Union Centre, which began construction in 2008 and opened to the public on February 27, 2010.
According to PCUCentre.ca, the PCU Arena offers an 85’x 200’ NHL ice pad with 1675 seats, 300-person standing room concourse, 20 & 40 person entertainment suites. 2-lane walking track, raised media and sound rooms, multipurpose room, concessions, bar services and washrooms. The Portage Mutual Arena offers an 85’x 200’ NHL ice pad with 300 bench style seats, 100 person standing room, sound system, 4 standard size dressing rooms and washrooms.
Kim Davis, Commissioner of the MJHL was pleased with the announcement in Portage la Prairie.
“It’s going to do a great job toward showcasing the MJHL,” said Davis. “Obviously now this will be the second one in five years in Manitoba and it just shows a number of key things.
“It’s nothing more than the quality of the bid, the bid in Portage was very good.
“First of all, the quality of facilities that we have in the league, you know they are top notch and perfect for this type of event. But the most important thing is the quality of the host committees that we have got, and Portage is right at the top. The quality of the people, Dave Patsack is a real professional.”
Davis says that the operation budget will be in the range of $800,000 and $900,000 – money that has to be raised by the host committee. The money covers things such as team travel and accommodations for the four other teams across Canada as well as advertising, promotions, etc.
The RBC Cup boasts quite the list of alumni, with current and former NHL players having played in the prestigious tournament. Rod Brind’Amour, Mike Cammalleri, Scott Gomez and Curtis Joseph are just a few of the more than 100 NHL players to have played in both the RBC Cup and the NHL.
The 45th RBC Cup will be held in May 2015.