John Wilson, right, was named Chair of the Victoria Royals bid committee for the 2020 Memorial Cup earlier this year. (Victoria Royals)

John Wilson, right, was named Chair of the Victoria Royals bid committee for the 2020 Memorial Cup earlier this year. (Victoria Royals)

Victoria backs out of bid for 2020 Memorial Cup

Organizing committee says they’re now turning focus to 2023

Victoria will not be hosting the 2020 Memorial Cup.

The local bid committee announced Monday they were officially withdrawning their bid and instead refocusing on efforts to bring the marquee junior hockey championship event to Vancouver Island in 2023.

Committee chairperson John Wilson pointed to the potential for community fatigue on the south Island as Victoria plays host (along with Vancouver) to the World Junior Hockey Championships this winter, along with multiple venue upgrades required at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

“This is an opportunity to help bring an event of the highest magnitude to Victoria, for the people of Vancouver Island,” Wilson said at the time it was first announced he would be joining the bid committee. “This community has a rich history in both sport and tourism, and we are the perfect landing spot for this tournament. It would truly be an amazing place for hockey fans to gather for 10 days in the heart of spring.”

As the host team, the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Royals would automatically quality for the junior hockey championship, regardless of where they finished in the standings.

This leaves Kelowna, Kamloops and Lethbridge as the other cities still vying to host the annual tournament made up of the winners of the three member leagues (WHL, OHL, QMJHL) in the Canadian Hockey League.

“Our fans and the people of Victoria deserve to host an event that is remembered for a lifetime. In bowing out of the 2020 selection process, we feel that the foundation and momentum that has been created by participating in this bid process has been very valuable,” said Victoria Royals’ President and General Manager Cameron Hope.

“The support received by the Bid Committee from all involved, including the local business community and government, has been exceptional. We know that when it is next time for a WHL city to bid on hosting this event, we will not only be a viable candidate, but the best candidate.”

Sixty teams are eligible to compete for the Memorial Cup, representing nine provinces and four American states.

The host city will be announced in October.


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