By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Despite winning two of their three games this weekend, it was a disappointing one for the Oshawa Generals in other ways as the news broke on Saturday that the 2018 Memorial Cup has been awarded to the Regina Pats.
For much of the past year, the Generals have been hard at work putting together a bid to host the 100th running of the tournament. That work culminated in a bid presentation before a selection committee in Toronto last month. The news was hard to swallow for Roger Hunt, the Gens’ general manager.
“I think whenever you’re not successful in something you want so bad, you’re going to be disappointed and we are,” he says. “I can’t say enough about what our team did.”
After being shortlisted among the final three teams, which included the Hamilton Bulldogs and Regina, Oshawa worked to rally support for their bid, including receiving support from the City of Oshawa and the Region of Durham in the form of in-kind services. Hunt says the club poured extreme effort into the bid and says he isn’t sure what else they could have done to convince the committee that Oshawa was the right place.
“I really don’t know what we could have done. I’m sure the conspirary theorists will be alive and well here with the bid process. I don’t know how good their (Regina’s) bid would have been, but it would’ve had to have been spectacular,” he says. “ I really would have loved to win the bid to bring the cup here for our fans.”
In a press release making the announcement, the history of the Pats, who are named for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and the fact that they are also celebrating their 100th anniversary next season are noted.
“I applaud our national site selection committee who were challenged with choosing between three outstanding bids,” states CHL commissioner David Branch in the same release. “On behalf of the CHL, we look forward to working with the City of Regina and the Regina Pats to engage the entire nation in what will truly be a historic event.”
For fans, the missed opportunity may sting a little harder after the team made some large moves at the trade deadline, including trading captain Anthony Cirelli to the Erie Otters, in what appeared to be an attempt to bolster the team’s roster in the event of a successful bid for the tournament. However, Hunt says that is not the case, and looking back he wouldn’t have done anything differently.
“We made those trades to try and be good for years and years to come,” he says. “It was kind of something that would have been forced a little bit to stockpile some assets…but those those trades were made for the guys that are here. I wouldn’t change a thing.”