Following an announcement from the Western Hockey League from the WHL Annual Meetings in Calgary - the Lethbridge Hurricanes have been informed that the club will not be shortlisted as a possible host city for the 2013 Memorial Cup.
This was the final stage in the selection process which saw the field limited to a final group of clubs.
“As an organization this disappointing for our players, our staff and especially our fans who we feel deserve this tournament” said Hurricanes President Brian McNaughton “We are disappointed in that we felt that the criteria that were key - our building, our business plan and our team were all aspects which we fulfilled. We are completing world class facility which we are proud to call home with a 34 million dollar renovation which will make the City of Lethbridge ENMAX Centre a premier venue in this province.”
“Obviously we are disappointed, we understand that our support levels need to be higher for an event of this magnitude and are working hard every day to capture more fans - whether through our season tickets, 10 game flex pack, family packs etc.” says Canes Business Manager Jim Bradley “Our season ticket promotion is aggressive in order to deliver more value, which should increase demand for season ticket packages for families and businesses. We have a lot of work to do, but we're utilizing strong marketing, communication and community outreach to improve our brand relevance to a broader base. This comes from working hard every day at connecting with current and past fans, business and community leaders, families and youth. We believe we're delivering value and in 2011/12 with the new video board, an ultra exciting fan experience.”
“It’s disappointing but we know that there is some subjectivity in this evaluation of our hockey club on the ice” said Canes GM and Head Coach Rich Preston. “We know we are building a Memorial Cup contending team the right way - through the draft and player development. Our roster projections include many of our current players, and of course the recent draft picks and we know most importantly with our depth - that we are building a culture for a team that competes for the Memorial Cup, not just on certain years but season after season.”
“It’s important to see the steps we have made forward as a club - with a new building, new talent and new staff - we know that the experience of this bid will only aid our cause in the future.” added McNaughton. “We would like to express our gratitude to the Memorial Cup Committee, the province of Alberta, Mayor Rajko Dodic, City of Lethbridge ENMAX Centre personnel, local sports organizations and all of our local sponsors and key stakeholders in Southern Alberta for their vision and support of what we know would have been a great event and a feather in the caps of this city”.
“This step back will add to our convictions and dedication in pushing towards our ultimate goal of providing the highest level of hockey and entertainment to our fans.” said Bradley. “We have many other goals we now need to focus on and despite this loss today, our continuing goal will be to position ourselves and our market as one of the elite of the WHL so that if an opportunity like this arises again – we cannot be denied”
The WHL Annual Meetings were held Wednesday in Calgary with Brian McNaughton, Rich Preston and Hurricanes Governor Herman Elfring attending on the Hurricanes behalf.
(From Ryan Ohashi, Hurricanes Manager of Communications and Events)
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