The Halifax Mooseheads had the best arena, a strong organizing committee, a first-class owner and a well-prepared bid to host the 2009 Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup.
But in the end, the bid fell short partially because, on paper, they aren’t expected to be a contender in 2008-09 after loading up for a run at a championship this season, according to Bernard Lord, head of the four-man selection committee.
The Rimouski Oceanic were named 2009 Memorial Cup hosts at a press conference yesterday in Montreal.
“That’s a big key,” Lord said. “In the end, this is not who can host the best event, who has the best facility. Halifax has a very good, very strong team now, but some of the key components may not be there next year. That’s all part of the evaluation.”
Hockey operations made up 20 per cent of the committee’s evaluation criteria, as did the arena. Logistics (accreditation, transportation, lodging and volunteers) made up 25 per cent; organizing committee, marketing, and the hosting of CHL events (banquet, awards gala and golf tournament) made up 10 per cent each; and finances formed the other five per cent.
“If it was just based on who has the best arena today, Halifax would get it every year,” Lord said.
Lord said Halifax had a “strong bid.” Lewiston, Me., Shawinigan, Que., and Chicoutimi, Que., were also in the mix.
“There is no doubt we could have picked Halifax and slept very well for the next 15 months knowing it would be a great success in 2009,” he said. “There were no weak bids.”
Lord said the fact that Halifax hosted the event in 2000 had no impact on the committee’s decision.
“I’m disappointed, naturally — we did a lot of work, but there were five very strong bids,” Mooseheads owner Bobby Smith said. “I’m perfectly content with the fairness and diligence of the committee and Rimouski will do a terrific job.”
Smith said he’ll be “back at the table for sure” in 2012.