Kamloops Blazers majority owner Gaglardi talks silent Memorial Cup bidding process

“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know…I just think it removes the bias and the real reasons why a winning team should host have a better chance of winning. I hope it’s a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.

Kamloops Blazers majority owner Tom Gaglardi says a new format is in place to bid for the Memorial Cup — a confidential, behind-the-scenes process that should produce a 2023 host city before this summer.

Gaglardi said he didn’t expect a vote in the WHL’s board of governors to be involved in the process. The decision, as he understands it, will be made at the Canadian Hockey League level.

“It’s better,” Gaglardi said. “It should be decided by people who are, you know…I just think it removes the bias and the real reasons why a winning team should host have a better chance of winning. I hope it’s a good system and a better system, but that remains to be seen.

K.T.W. contacted Kelowna Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton to ask if Kelowna would make a bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup.

“Thank you for the interest,” said Hamilton, the longest-serving chair of the WHL’s board of governors, who is now in his 10th term in the role. “The CHL is releasing this information now.”

The Blazers, Rockets and Lethbridge Hurricanes made bids for the 2020 Memorial Cup before the WHL Board of Governors in Calgary in October 2018. The board voted in favor of Kelowna.

Kelowna, whose 2020 party was ruined by the pandemic, is expected to bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup.

Is Gaglardi worried that his team is dying, that the Rockets’ position as a stolen starter will be too much to overcome if they do indeed bid?

“I don’t think anything is going to be handed over. For Kelowna’s defense, they prepared to host a Memorial Cup and they had the cup taken away from them,” Gaglardi said. “It cost them dearly in terms of the hockey program. It cost them, I’m sure, financially. So you must have sympathy for that.

“To the extent that’s a determining factor for 2022-23, I just don’t know. I really believe that the best deal, the best situation, with the community, the facility, the theme, the people who lead, the quality of the hockey team – these are the key points and the best team and the best city should win.

Gaglardi declined to outline which teams might bid and declined the offer to analyze the Rockets hockey team.

“I’m not going to talk about anyone else’s team,” he said. “Teams aren’t really allowed to say anything. I don’t think it’s a secret that we want to host the Memorial Cup.

“Our team will be full of NHL draft picks and I think we’ll be as good or as deep as any team there. We have a lot of dry powder and a lot of leads. The market has it all. We really tick all the boxes.

Gaglardi was asked his opinion on how the talks went with the WHL and CHL brass.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” he said. “The processes I’ve seen have been good and I’ll be interested to see how the new process ultimately works.”

Can he offer more information about the offer?

“No. I think I’ve probably said more than I’m supposed to,” Gaglardi said. [for the first time since 1995]you are in good hands, as far as our part of the effort is concerned.

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