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03-07-2013, 08:05 AM
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another article on this topic.

Donít punish London because they are good

By Morris Dalla Costa, The London Free Press

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 10:01:05 EST PM

London Knights

Memorial Cup

Let the nitpicking begin.

London held the Memorial Cup in 2005. They donít deserve to hold another one so soon.

Windsor wonít have a very good team next year and they were hit with an initial $400,000 fine and other penalties for violations of the Ontario Hockey League recruitment code. They donít deserve to hold the Memorial Cup because of that.

The Barrie Coltsí arena is too small and not modern enough. As a result, the big financial boost the Memorial Cup gives the league wonít be enough to make things better for the other 19 teams. If this is the second biggest showcase event in junior hockey, then they donít deserve to hold the Memorial Cup.

With the announcement that London, Barrie and Windsor are the three teams that will present in-person bids to an OHL selection committee April 17 for the 2014 Memorial Cup, the handicapping has begun.

If you are talking about benefits to a community, bringing a community together, inspiring pride in a community and bringing benefits to a community, the Memorial Cup is one of the best things that could happen to it in terms of sporting events, especially if the city truly cares about junior hockey.

The publicity and long-term return is worth the effort and expense. There may be shinier cars, but none that run as well or are as reliable.

There will be pros and cons tossed around like rice at a wedding.

It wonít be easy this time, but following a couple of basic rules is a good start.

No one deserves a Memorial Cup just because they havenít had it in a while or have never had it. That argument needs to be tossed out; just as the argument about a team having had it recently needs to be tossed out.

Being good shouldnít be a penalty.

Size of the facility shouldnít matter. The only thing that matters is the condition of the building. That said, a team canít have it both ways. If there isnít enough seating, they need to make up a financial shortfall in some other way.

It doesnít necessarily mean the highest financial guarantee needs to win, but that is a significant part of the bid process.

Given that only three teams decided to bid, junior hockey would be well-advised to have a look how the guidelines affect small-market teams.

Like the world junior hockey tournament, size does count, the size of the money bag and the size of the venue.

But whatever changes need to be made in the bid process, that is for another time, another bid. The rules are what they are right now and thatís how the bids need to be judged.

Hereís the handicapping in order of facilities. Remember that not everything in the bids is public. There may be something amazing in a bid that will turn the selection committeeís heads.

Venue: London, Windsor are in a tie with London getting the edge because of number of seats. Barrie is third.

Team: London will have the best team. Barrie is a strong second. This is where Windsor is going to have trouble. The Spitfires will likely miss the playoffs and the OHL does not want the host team getting their butt kicked on the national stage.

Profit: With reports that Windsor is getting some help from city and sponsors, they may have the best financial numbers. Londonís contribution to the OHL purse is a close second. Barrie will probably be the smallest.

Timing: Barrie has never held a Memorial Cup. Windsor last held it in 1981, London 2005.

Miscellaneous: All three franchises have staged a variety of junior hockey events. The last four OHL Memorial Cups have been held in larger centres: Ottawa, London, Kitchener, Mississauga. Windsor has to deal with the issue of their recruiting violation. The OHL says it wonít matter. That remains to be seen.

When it comes to selecting a 2014 Memorial Cup centre Windsor, Barrie and London would all do a great job, but that isnít the point.

There is a reason for guidelines. They are there to ensure the best possible site is selected on an ongoing basis to stage a major junior hockey event.

If you follow the guidelines the way they are now, the frontrunner must be London.

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