There could be a major snag in the Saint John Sea Dogs’ hopes of hosting the 2017 Memorial Cup.
This year’s Memorial Cup tournament will be held in Quebec City (QMJHL) and next year’s in Red Deer (WHL). The 2017 tournament would normally be held in an OHL city, but with the 100th anniversary of the trophy coming up in 2018, it has been believed that the CHL would break the rotation and give the QMJHL the 2017 tournament and the OHL the 2018 edition.
The Sea Dogs have been saying for well over a year now that they want to host – and, obviously, ultimately win – the 2017 Memorial Cup. They have made it clear that they are building for 2017 and appear to have the team set up nicely to go for it that year. But a report in today’s Telegraph-Journal (paywall) puts the hosting part of the plan in jeopardy.
According to Scott Briggs, in 2018 “the CHL is considering Toronto as host, the site of the first Memorial Cup in 1919” and “now it appears an Ontario Hockey League team will also host in 2017 and Toronto in 2018, albeit with a revised format that could potentially involve more teams.”
After going through the pain of losing the 2012 bid to Shawinigan, this is something that probably wouldn't go over too well with Sea Dogs fans.
This is all speculation right now (a QMJHL spokesperson told Briggs that this is one of several possibilities) and none of this is set in stone, meaning the QMJHL could still end up hosting in 2017. Perhaps the more significant part of all of this is the potential format change involving more teams. There are unlimited formatting possibilities, and the CHL – and Sportsnet - no doubt want to try and get the national championship the level of hype and exposure the NCAA gets.