|« Doyle: Trent Cull takes over the Sudbury Wolves||Doyle: Mississauga to host 2011 Memorial Cup »|
When the 2011 Memorial Cup takes to the ice in Mississauga next year, could it be the start of a new era for junior hockey's marquee event?...
Much of the talk surrounding Mississauga hosting the tournament is that it would draw people from the surrounding OHL markets to help fill the building - along with the other participating OHL club. If that indeed happens and the Hershey Centre is filled with fans from all over Ontario, and all over Canada for that matter, might it give momentum to the idea of eliminating the host club getting an automatic berth?
At this point in time, I am a big believer that the Memorial Cup cannot be successful without the home team playing in it. Games involving other teams always lack the same spirit of those when the host city is involved. But if the seats at the Hershey Centre are filled with fans from teams outside the host city, then it could demonstrate that it can be done. Could every market pull that off? I do not think so. The best case scenario would still be that the host city is in the tournament, but they would have to earn their way in. In the last six years, the host city has earned its berth through the proverbial "front door" half the time, including each of the last two OHL hosts. The selection committee for each league should always consider the strength of the host team as part of the criteria - recognizing it is best for the tournament if that team gets in.
Take the 2005 Memorial Cup in London or 2008 tournament in Kitchener for example. Would they have been so successful and had such spirit inside the arena and the city if the Knights or Rangers were upset in the OHL playoffs and were left to be spectators? I do not believe either would have been. Whether it is Memorial Cup, World Juniors or any other major tournament, the big attention goes to the home team.
Some people will say this change would make the Memorial Cup more of a real championship. But that would only be the case if the format was reduced to three teams, making it a true tournament of champions.
Am I calling for this to happen? Absolutely not!
I think the Memorial Cup is great just as it is. Many of the people who complain about the current format do not actually attend Memorial Cup tournaments. It is a great event and something many people look forward to every year. There are many fans from across the country who attend every year no matter where the tournament is and whether or not their team even has a sniff of making it.
The current format is a success at the box office, it is a success on television, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
This is not the case in places like the Soo, Sudburry, Bellville. Personally I don't even see cities like Windsor selling out without the Spitfires playing. And those are just Ontario exapmples. It becomes much tougher in the WHL were cities can be hundreds and hundreds of miles from the closest team to them.
Leave it the way it is.
Comments are not allowed from anonymous visitors.