Up early on a Saturday with his young kids, Mike Lane was only too happy to answer the phone at 7:30 a.m.
It was Hockey Canada calling to tell Lane, the co-chair of the Vernon organizing committee, that the city has been successful in securing the 2014 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A Hockey Championship tournament.
“I was so excited that I wanted to run up and down the street shouting that we won the bid, but we needed to keep it under our hats until Hockey Canada included the announcement in its AGM Notes on Sunday,” said Lane, whose group has been working on the bid for the past year.
“It’s been a long year, and it’s going to be another long two years, but we’re very excited. We’ve been using the catch phrase ‘The Excitement Returns,’ and now it seems so fitting.”
Vernon first hosted the national championship tournament in 1990, at the Civic Arena, when the team was known as the Lakers, and the trophy was the Centennial Cup.The 1990 tournament – won by the host Lakers in overtime over their provincial and league rivals, the New Westminster Royals – was the first to feature five teams, and was the first to have the final televised nationally on TSN.
The 2014 Royal Bank Cup tournament, which will bring together two teams from Western Canada, one from Central Canada and one from Eastern Canada, along with the host Vernon Vipers, is tentatively slated for May 10-18, 2014, at the Wesbild Centre.
Vernon’s 2014 bid was a unanimous choice at Hockey Canada’s annual general meeting in Halifax, beating out a bid from Terrebonne, Quebec.
A 2014 RBC Cup kickoff rally will be held on Saturday, June 16, during the annual Downtown Vernon Association’s Sunshine Festival.
“At the rally, fans will learn details about ticket sales, volunteer opportunities, and sponsorship opportunities,” said Lane.
It’s anticipated that a representative from Hockey Canada will be in attendance for the rally, along with former members of the Vipers and Lakers.
Vernon teams have won six national Junior A hockey titles, the most by any organization in Canada, and have competed in nine Canadian championship tournaments.