SUMMERSIDE – The Woodstock Slammers have been selected as the host team for the 2016 Fred Page Cup.
The Summerside Western Capitals, in partnership with the City of Summerside, and Amherst Ramblers also bid for the right to host the Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship that determines the East region representative for the RBC Cup.
“Woodstock will do a great job, there is no doubt about it,” said Caps general manager Pat McIver on Thursday. “They will put a good team on the ice, and they have the resources to put on a good show.”
Woodstock general Danny Braun said in a media release issued by the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) that the Ramblers are “honoured and humbled” to have been chosen as the host.
“We knew all the bids would be competitive, especially going up against two franchises with long, storied histories in this league,” said Braun. “We were confident with the package we presented and did the proper pre-evaluations in our minds.
“We hoped the fact that (the Fred Page Cup) has only been held in New Brunswick once before would play a factor. Plus, we’ve been there (as league champions) three times before, so we certainly had that experience to draw from.”
Graham Baxter and Stu Rath, co-chairmen of the MHL’s board of governors, along with vice-presidents Rod Clark of New Brunswick and Cecil Taylor of P.E.I. comprised the selection committee.
RBC Cup hosts
The Capitals were the host team for the City of Summerside-hosted RBC Cup national championship tournament in 2013, losing in the final to the Brooks Bandits from Alberta
The Caps advanced to the final of that season’s Fred Page Cup, losing in overtime to the host Truro Bearcats.
“Obviously we are disappointed,” admitted McIver. “After hosting one of the top RBC Cup championships and setting attendance records, and basically putting the MHL on the map nationwide, we felt we had a good chance, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
“I don’t think it was anything we did wrong, I think they just wanted to spread it around.”
League president Derryl Smith, a Kinkora native, told the Amherst News that all three bids submitted were strong.
“We had three quality bids from three quality organizations,” Smith told Darrell Cole of the Amherst News. “At the end of the day, the selection committee went through the bids and decided that Woodstock’s had the most merit.
“The league would have been proud to have had either of the three organizations hosting the Fred Page Cup.”
In Amherst, N.S., Ramblers president Jim Henwood was very upset his team was once again denied the opportunity to host the Fred Page Cup. The Ramblers lost out to Truro in bidding for the 2013 tournament.
“I could see how they wanted to showcase Truro last time, but I was led to believe that this year if we submitted a bid we would stand a very good chance of winning,” said Henwood told the Amherst News. “Within the last couple of weeks I was getting vibes that things had changed a bit.”
The Caps won the 2009 Fred Page Cup in Moncton, defeating the Dieppe Commandos in double overtime.