The MHL has formally announced that the hosting rights for the 2016 Fred Page Cup have been awarded to the Woodstock Slammers. The Slammers winning bid was one of three presented to the MHL at a Board of Governors meeting held in Amherst, Nova Scotia last Saturday. Bids were also submitted by the Amherst Ramblers and Summerside Western Capitals and presented to a selection committee comprised of Co-Chairmen of the MHL Board of Governors Graham Baxter and Stu Rath as well as Rod Clark and Cecil Taylor, MHL Vice-Presidents for New Brunswick and PEI, respectively.
The Slammers organization was notified of their successful bid by MHL President Derryl Smith.
“The selection committee held a briefing prior to the presentations made by the clubs,” Smith said. “It was felt that all teams were capable of hosting the event and that (the winning bid) would come down to merit and detail of presentation. After deliberating, it was felt by the group that Woodstock had a stronger overall presentation. As well, the committee looked at the team, divisions and the league overall and concluded that Woodstock would be awarded the right to host the 2016 Fred Page Cup.” he went on to explain.
The town of Woodstock, New Brunswick and the Slammers organization will now begin the organizing process of hosting the championship emblematic of Eastern Canadian Jr.A hockey supremacy. Traditionally, the Fred Page Cup is hosted on a rotating basis between the three leagues that compete for the championship. In addition to the host Slammers and one other MHL representative, the playoff champions of Quebec’s QJHL as well as the Eastern Ontario region’s CCHL will be making their way to Western New Brunswick in the spring of 2016.
“The Slammers are honored to be granted the privilege by the MHL to host this event,” Woodstock Slammers governor Andrew McCain said. “Our hats go off as well to Amherst and Summerside for their strong bids. They are two truly great organizations and we would gladly support them in future bids for other events they wish to host.”
Slammers General Manager Danny Braun was equally excited over bringing the Fred Page Cup to Woodstock. At the same time, he was aware of some of the advantages the Slammers may have held during the bidding process.
“We are honored and humbled to be selected,” Braun remarked. “We knew all the bids would be competitive, especially going up against two franchises with long, storied histories in this league. We were confident with the package we presented and did the proper pre-evaluations in our minds. We hoped the fact that (the Fred Page Cup) has only been held in New Brunswick once before would play a factor. Plus, we’ve been there (as league champions) three times before so we certainly had that experience to draw from.” he added.
The Fred Page Cup has been contested annually since 1995. The 2015-16 Slammers will join the 2008-09 Dieppe Commandos as the only two New Brunswick based clubs to host the event. In addition, the Woodstock franchise has reached the Fred Page Cup as MHL champions in 2006, 2010 and 2012. The Slammers won the tournament in 2012, when it was held in Kanata, Ontario, en route to a silver medal performance at the RBC Cup National Jr.A Championship. However, it was the club’s experience at the 2010 tournament in Brockville, Ontario that McCain reflected on the most in the wake of his team’s winning bid.
“We took a lot of advice from Brockville, who did a tremendous job hosting. They told us to focus on the little things. We plan on taking a detailed approach to the process, with several committees as well as ambassadors for the press, for the leagues and for scouts.” McCain explained.
It’s the focus on the on-ice product in general, including scouting, that Braun and McCain hope to see rise to prominence during Woodstock’s upcoming turn in the spotlight.
“The community is obviously excited, but for us it’s bigger than that,” Braun said. “The MHL is a great brand of hockey that sometimes gets overlooked. We want to showcase this league to everybody. We have some great organizations and players to offer within this league.”
“We hope that (the tournament) attracts many NCAA scouts to further advance the league’s cause in that regard,” McCain said. “With our close proximity to the US, it’s our hope that those schools take advantage of the chance to see what this league and its players can do.”
McCain hopes that fans from all areas take the opportunity to see what the home of the Slammers has to offer.
“We welcome fans from all around the league and beyond,” he said. “We look forward to showing everyone some Woodstock hospitality.”
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