In September, 133 teams vie for a chance to play for the National Junior A Championship.
In 2021, the Flin Flon Bombers want to host the tournament after the team officially place their bid to host the NJAC this week.
“It was a lot of hard work, we had a great group of people helping in the bid” said President Travis Rideout, “but we’re really proud of our bid and we’re really looking forward to the process.”
After weeks of rumors, Rideout has confirmed that the team submitted their bid on Tuesday after weeks of compiling info and putting together a package they feel is very competitive to the other bids.
“We have a lot to offer,” added Rideout. “We have a historic arena, a great team, coaching staff, and a community that is filled with great volunteers and sponsors.”
The NJAC, formerly the Royal Bank Cup, is a five team tournament with representatives from Eastern Canada, Central and two from Western Canada with a host team. Flin Flon has been to the tournament twice, once in 1993, when it was the Centennial Cup, in Amherst, NS and the other time in 2001 when they were hosts. If they were awarded the tournament, it would mark the 20 year anniversary of the last time they hosted.
That year the Bombers won a thrilling semi final against the Weyburn Red Wings to play in the final, losing to the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. But it’s that tournament Rideout wants to build this one around.
“That tournament has had lasting effects on this town,” commented Rideout. “At that time is became the benchmark for the tournaments since then. It was both a success on the ice and a financial success, we feel that this can be mirrored in 2021.”
“In 2001 we had record breaking crowds, we had 1000 fans for an afternoon game that the Bombers weren’t even playing in.”
The team assembled a sub committee, mostly people not currently on the Bomber Board, but is Co-Chair by Rideout, and he feels that it is a great mix of people.
“We have business people, people that played hockey, people that were around in 2001, we had a great group of people in that office, sometimes late into the night, contributing to a bid package that we’re really proud of,” added Rideout.
In the coming days, Hockey Canada will shortlist the bids and then an in person presentation will be required. From there the host will be awarded the tournament sometime in June.
“We know that we’re in against some heavy hitters, but we’re ready for the fight,” said Rideout. “We also know that what set’s us apart from other bids is this is more than just an event. The excitement and enthusiasm can’t be matched. The town shuts down and the entire week is about the tournament.”
The team is encouraging people to go to social media to support the Bombers and their bid, using the hashtag #FFNJAC2021. Fans can follow the NJAC on Twitter @HC_NJAC.
“It has been a long time since the SJHL has hosted the tournament, and it would huge for us to host this again 20 years after we last hosted. It would huge for our community that is hungry for a National event, this doesn’t come around to communities like ours often.”