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Kelowna Rockets to bid for 2026 Memorial Cup

The team and the City of Kelowna made a joint announcement at  a media event on June 13
Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas (right) and Kelowna Rockets President and General Manager Bruce Hamilton announce a bid for the 2026 Memorial Cup on June 13, 2024.

The Kelowna Rockets are bidding for the 2026 Memorial Cup.

The team and the City of Kelowna made a joint announcement at  a media event on June 13.

Rockets President and General Manager Bruce Hamilton said the time is right for another shot. 

"One, we wanna win, and I want it back in this city. The mayor (Tom Dyas) wants it too,” “He thinks we deserve another chance.”

Dyas was the committee chairperson of the successful 2020 Memorial Cup bid which was eventually cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ll share the playbook,” he said, answering a question about who the 2026 committee chairperson might be. “We're having some discussions right now.”

The city has also committed $3.7 million for needed upgrades to Prospera Place to host the 10 day tournament. A bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup fell flat after the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) said the arena was not up to modern standards.

“We’ve been somewhat hand cuffed…getting the facility up to the standard,” Hamilton said. “Now that the city is fully committed…it made a lot of sense to move forward.” 

The city’s financial commitment, coming from capital reserves, will include a new scoreboard, lighting, audio systems, a permanent media facility, zambonis and other items. 

“We are developing a list of what needs to be done,” Dyas added. “I know we will get further feedback from the CHL for the facility to meet requirements of the bid.”

Dyas and Hamilton expressed appreciation for GSL Group, which operates Prospera Place, for supporting the bid. The agreement between GSL and the city expires in 2029.

The Kelowna Rockets first hosted the Memorial Cup in 2004, winning the tournament with captain Josh Gorges, 18-year-old Shea Webber and MVP goaltender Kelly Guard.

The 2026 Memorial Cup winning city will be announced on December 14, 2024.

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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