In just over two months Prince Albert will be hosting some of the best Midget AAA hockey this city has ever seen when the 2014 Telus Cup Western Regional playoff is held at the Art Hauser Centre.
The Prince Albert Mintos will be the host team for the four-team event, but naturally they want to come in the front door as Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League champions.
Joining the provincial and host reps will be the champions from Manitoba and Northern Ontario with the winner of the regional qualifier moving on to the Telus Cup national championship, which will be hosted in Moose Jaw.
In 1999, Prince Albert was the site of the Air Canada Cup national championship (now sponsored by Telus) and that event provided fans with a week of intense hockey that culminated with the Regina Pat Canadians winning 5-4 in double overtime over the Calgary Midget AAA Flames.
While this event isn’t for the national championship it will feature seven games with everything on the line to qualify for that final tournament and again fans can expect to be treated to some incredible hockey.
I’m fortunate to have been asked to help with this event as I was in 1999. Fifteen years ago I did the stats for the tournament and it was pretty archaic with spreadsheets and such, so this time around with computers being so much more advanced the organizing committee has asked me to help with communications and marketing and I am thrilled to be on board to lend a hand.
The Western Regional will run from April 3-6 with two games being played on each of the first three days and a championship game getting all of the attention on the final day.
A lot of work is required to get an event like this in place and the organizing committee is well on its way to showcasing Prince Albert like it has never been done before.
Everything from hospitality to hotels to banquets to facilities – and everything else in between - has been looked after and from our last meeting it looks like everything is coming together nicely.
Obviously, games featuring the Mintos are going to attract the most attention, but the organizing committee is hopeful that all games will be well attended. The reasons for this are two-fold: one, it will be great hockey regardless of who is playing and Prince Albert is well known for its sportsmanship. Having a bunch of bums in the seats will only help the visitors feel more at home. Secondly, to put something on like this requires a great deal of finances and more people taking in the games means more money to offset costs.
That’s where you come in!
Tournament passes – or wristbands as it has been decided – are now available. Prices have been set at $40 for adults and $30 for seniors/students, which in my bookkeeping mind is telling me that is one helluva deal. Seven games for said prices! There is no better entertainment around at the value.
Of course not everyone can make it to every game so individual tickets are also for sale at $10 each for adults and two dollars less for seniors and students. See the money you are saving by purchasing a wristband?
This is also a great opportunity for school groups or minor hockey teams to have an outing and both will be approached in the near future to see if there is any interest in purchasing tickets for a game(s).
Anyway, that’s my sales pitch. Now for my plea for assistance! Nothing can be hosted without great volunteer help and right now the call is out to find people who might be interested in lending a hand to sign up. We are presently lining up a volunteer co-ordinator, but anyone interested in being a part of this great event can call me at 306-763-3366 and I will take your name and pertinent information and then pass it along to whoever becomes responsible for that area. Having volunteers in place takes so much pressure off everyone so if you are interested please call as soon as you can.
I’ll do my best on keeping everyone posted on what is going on and as the communications person I will be passing on information to all media outlets as it becomes available. As awkward as it has been in the media industry I truly do enjoy working with the other groups. Back in the old day I made lifelong friends from that camaraderie. It hasn’t worked out so good this time around, but maybe this will break the ice.
Prince Albert is the best place to host events whether it be in the sporting, entertainment or cultural fields. This certainly promises to be right up there with the best and will precede the banquet honouring the 2014 class of inductees for the Saskatchewan Hockey Hall of Fame, which will be held in Prince Albert on July 18. That event, too, promises to be a feather in the Prince Albert hat as the organizing committee for the banquet is gathering a great group of speakers and the list of honoured guests is so impressive – with a lot of connections to our great city.
Make plans to attend both, but get your tickets early to avoid any disappointment.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.