By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The work is done and now the waiting begins.
On Jan. 25, the Oshawa Generals delivered their bid for the 2018 Memorial Cup to the group that is tasked with making the final call of where the 100th running of the annual junior hockey tournament will be held.
The selection committee, which includes the likes of Paul Beeston, the former president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays; Colin Campbell, the senior executive vice president of hockey operations for the NHL; and Scott Smith, the chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, also heard bids that day from the Regina Pats and the Hamilton Bulldogs, the other two teams in the running to be tourney hosts.
The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) had opened up the chance to host the centennial tournament to all CHL teams before narrowing it down to three possibilities.
For their time in front of the selection committee, Gens GM Roger Hunt says they took the chance to throw everything they could at those making the decision and even brought along some alumni power in Eric Lindros to perhaps sweeten the deal.
“He touched on a lot of elements of the cup and his time in Oshawa, so it was great to have him there and it didn’t take a lot of coercing to get him,” Hunt says.
Also in the room for the closed private presentation was Gens owners Rocco Tullio, former Gens VP Duncan Stauth and NHL alumnus turned partial Gens owner Adam Graves.
“I think our team did a fantastic job, I think we were very prepared, I think we touched on all the points to accentuate our bid,” Hunt says.
Pior to the presentation at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Toronto, Hunt explained the club would be focusing on an array of factors that could potentially draw the CHL into choosing Oshawa as the host city. Those potential hooks included the strength of the team following some big moves prior to this year’s trade deadline, the connections to military history in Oshawa and the roots of the Memorial Cup (which is dedicated to all of Canada’s fallen soliders) along with the venue, the Oshawa community and the team’s loyal fan base.
“I think we’ve got a lot of good things going here and it’s an exciting junior hockey town,” Hunt says.
The same was said by Tullio, who felt confident following their time in front of the selection committee.
“We did everything first class,” he says. “It was really, really good, there was emotion in there.”
Tullio explains that in his mind, there are a number of things that set the Generals’ bid apart from the others, including the new jumbotron at the Tribute Communities Centre, the amount of NHL alumni that have played for the Gens and, once again, the loyal fans.
“For me, this is more for our fans,” he say. “I think thy’ve earned it, they’ve deserved it over the years.”
On top of that, Tullio says it just makes sense to have the historic tournament as close to Toronto as possible.
“It’s the eye of the storm for hockey,” he says.
The last time the Gens hosted the tournament was in 1987, and while no decision has yet to be announced, the Gens will only have to wait a little while longer to see if they are the chosen bid with a decision expected to come in February.