With the TELUS Cup fast approaching, ticket holders have begun picking out their must-see games in an effort to get a peek at the young stars of tomorrow.
This may involve travel for some, as four of the games are played outside Red Deer. Two Central Alberta towns will help out with the hosting duties: Carstairs, about a forty-five minute drive outside of the city, and Olds, a thirty-minute commute.
Both arenas have large capacities, making them a perfect contribution to an event of this size. Olds, a town with a tier II junior program, is no stranger to national events, having hosted the Centennial Cup (now RBC Royal Bank Cup) in 1994.
Carstairs, with its new arena – which has only been open since September of 2001 - will also help facilitate this national event.
Red Deer has shared its tournament-hosting responsibilities with other cities in the past. During the IIHF World Junior Championship in 1995, Red Deer held games in Grande Prairie, among other Alberta cities.
“We were looking at a number of other locations, such as Sylvan Lake, Stettler and Innisfail, but they [Carstairs and Olds] were the only places with ice still in” said Marv Seibel, chair of the host committee for the 2007 TELUS Cup.
Five of the six teams - with the exception being the host Red Deer Optimist Rebels – will play at least one game in either Carstairs or Olds, allowing fans in those towns to get a chance to see all the teams taking part.
“There was no strategic planning behind the games,” said Seibel, “except that we took all the morning games, with the exception of the first game due to the opening ceremonies, and moved them out of the city to night games in Carstairs and Olds, in order to boost attendance.”
This strategy will surely increase the attendance of these games as they all originally would not have seen as high of an attendance had they taken place in Red Deer during the day.
However, if Central Albertans want to get a look at the home team, they will have to make the commute into Red Deer as all of the host team’s games will be at the Red Deer Arena, where they have yet to lose this season.