RBC Cup 2015 to Portage
Members of the Portage Terriers celebrate a goal last week. (Kevin Hirschfield/PORTAGE DAILY GRAPHIC/QMI AGENCY)
“If at first you don't succeed ,…” could be the motto of the Portage la Prairie bid committee for the 2015 RBC Cup.
The group, which first bid unsuccessfully on the 2011 national Junior A championship back in 2009, are ecstatic to have been more successful a second time around.
“We're very excited as a committee that we were awarded the RBC Cup for 2015. I think it will be great for the city, the RM. It will be a great opportunity to showcase the new Portage Credit Union Centre,” said Dave Patsack, co-chair of the bid/now host committee, shortly after learning of the successful bid. “The final game will be on TSN, so we're really, really excited.”
The championship will take place in May 2015 over a 10-day period and feature five teams -- two from Western Canada, plus the Portage Terriers as the host team, and one team each representing Central and Eastern Canada.
The host committee will be responsible to pay the airfare and accommodations for all of the teams and officials. Patsack said the committee's budgets sits in the neighbourhood of $650,000, and also requires a large team of volunteers, between 250-300 to pull off this big of an event.
“We're still looking for a few more volunteers and obviously more corporate sponsors — we have quite a few — but an event like this cannot be run without the support of the community and if it wasn't for our corporate sponsors we wouldn't have even been able to put in a bid to even host it to start with,” Patsack said.
He added that the earlier bid to host the Junior A nationals was a positive experience despite being turned down in favour of Camrose, Alta.
“I think that (experience) really helped us with this bid. We took the experience we learned from there, we knew what they were looking for, and put it in our new proposal,” Patsack said, recalling back to the time before the new arena was built.
“It was right when the PCU Centre was brand new, which was probably one of the reasons we didn't get it. When we put the bid in, the building wasn't even completed yet.”
The last time Manitoba held the RBC Cup was in 2010, when the city of Dauphin played host to the tournament. MJHL commissioner Kim Davis said it was a huge success and should be once again in Portage.
"The local host committee was very strong (in Dauphin) and I know they're very strong in Portage as well," he said. "They know what the issues are and where the opportunities lie in terms of making it not only financially successful, but successful for the competitors and the fans as well."
Davis also believes the moderness of the PCU Centre facility and the strength of volunteers will help create a successful RBC Cup experience.
While the event carries a big price tag, Patsack said, it should also provide a big boost to the local economy.
“It should be a huge economic spinoff for the city. I have no idea how to quantify that number, but it will be big money, not just in cash revenue but in exposure,” he said.
Patsack said he hopes to see the PCU Centre full that week.
“We're looking for big crowds, lots of excitement and great hockey!”