Can Blazers be Memorial Cup stuff in two years?

By Earl Seitz
March 20, 2018 - 3:53pm Updated: March 20, 2018 - 5:59pm

KAMLOOPS — It was last November that Blazers owner Tom Gaglardi announced the team's intention to bid to host the Memorial Cup Tournament in 2020.

The bid has to be in by the end of May, with a Memorial Cup decision on 2020 expected next October.

"There are three components to the bid." says Blazers President and COO Don Moores, "The business plan is very important, money is an important thing -- however, you have to have a quality team as well.  There's an assessment process --- they have independant assessors that look at your club as far as the talent and where they'll be in 2020."

Is it enough time for the Blazers to prove they will be competitive enough to be a Memorial Cup contender in two years.

"Let's look at Red Deer," says Moores, "when they bid on the 2016 Memorial Cup they did'nt make the playoffs the year that they bid on the Cup.    They had a lot of great young kids -- a very promising team coming in the future, and I think we feel the same way."

The Blazers had ten 17-year olds on roster at the end of this season. 18's next season, and 19's in the 2020 Memorial Cup year. There was only one 16 year old this season, and then there's the future ---- those who will come in at 16 next season and be 17 year olds two years from now.

Some will be impact star players --- who ever would have thought Jermaine Loewen would score 36 goals this season —  other players may be a bust and not turn out as expected.

The Saskatoon Blades are an example of a team that went all in to host the Memorial Cup. It was at a very costly expence to their future. That was five years ago, and the Blades haven't been back to the playoffs since then — missing out this spring for a fifth straight year.

Last year Prince George lodaded up, won the B.C. Division and then suffered an unexpected first round elimination.

This season the Cougars did'nt make the playoffs — it could take years to rebuild. On Monday, the Cougars fired their general manager.

"I don't think we're building to the Memorial Cup, we're building to be a good team in 2020." says Blazers general manager Stu MacGregor.  "A team that can compete and get into the playoffs and compete to try to win a championship.   If that encompasses the Memorial Cup, then great.   There's a lot of factors that have to come into that yet."

Adds team president Don Moores, "If you look at where we're at right now, we have a strong team.   We would probably need to add a few components to that --- but some of the kids we have drafted that are coming up are very promising.   I don't think it would make sence for us to sell everything to do that ---- we need to have stability and have teams that are doing well over the years." 

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