The Campbell River Storm has put its name forward to host the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup – the B.C. Jr. B hockey equivalent of the Memorial Cup tournament.
The right to host the tournament rotates between the three leagues who participate: the VIJHL, the KIJHL and the PJHL. Next year, it’s the VIJHL’s turn, so Storm governor Wes Roed sent in a pitch to be the team to host it on behalf of the league, “and I think we’ve got a real shot at it,” Roed says.
“In my letter of intent to bid, I said that over the last five years Storm players have had the privilege of playing in front of 30,000 people per season,” Roed says, “and my contact at BC Hockey immediately sent me a response asking if that was a typo, and I said, ‘no, I think I worded everything pretty carefully,’ that we average between 800 and 1,000 per game, so with a 24 game schedule plus playoffs, I think I was actually being conservative.”
He was told by BC Hockey those kinds of numbers would mean the Storm is “out-drawing Jr. A,” Roed says, “and they said, ‘get that bid in immediately.’”
What Roed feels will push the Storm’s bid over the edge and grant them the tournament, he says, will be that the fans here aren’t just Storm fans. They’re hockey fans. He points to the amazing turnout for the U-17 international tournament held on Vancouver Island in 2009, “and let’s say I’m glad the fire marshall was a fan,” he says with a laugh. “It was ridiculous how packed it was in there, and it had nothing to do with the Storm.
“And this will be no different. They’ll come to every game. They’ll support this. They want to see the best of the best, and that’s what the Cyclone Taylor Cup is. It’s the best of the best of the teams in the province vying for that title. I think it will be a fantastic venue and I don’t expect anything short of an overwhelming success, if, in fact, we should be awarded the privilege of hosting it.”
Roed says there’s sure to be competition amongst teams in the VIJHL vying for the tournament, but he hasn’t heard who else has asked to host it.
“There are usually two or three teams who submit, but I’m not privy to who actually did,” he says.
“But when I put the bid in two years ago when Victoria got it, I got the impression from BC Hockey after the fact – and I don’t think it was just to appease us and make us feel better – that it may have been because the last two times the VIJHL held the tournament, it was awarded to northern teams and they felt that time a southern team should get it.”
The city itself has backed the bid, as well. At this week’s public meeting, council voted unanimously to draft a letter to BC Hockey.
“This is something I think would be a real economic driver for the community and a real feather in our cap for our Campbell River Storm,” said Coun. Michele Babchuk.
“It’s only fair that if we won it, we oughta get to host it,” agreed Coun. Charlie Cornfield. The Storm won the tournament in 2015 in Mission and went on to also win the Keystone Cup – the Western Canada Championship.
Roed is expecting he will receive confirmation on who will host the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament “by the end of the month.”