Campbell River will host the biggest tournament in B.C. Junior B hockey next year: the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Team owner Linda Lahtinen is very excited to get the official word, indicating Campbell River fans deserve to have their moment in the spotlight.
“We have the best fan base in the all of B.C. and I know that we will make Campbell River proud,” Lahtinen said.
The Campbell River Storm organization announced it had bid on hosting the tournament in January, and on Monday, the team found out they’d been granted the honour.
“Campbell River will be an excellent host for the 2019 Cyclone Taylor Cup,” says Phil Iddon, BC Hockey’s Junior Coordinator. “The Storm have proven to be a premier Junior B franchise in BC, due to their recent successes and the fact they have tremendous community support. The Storm are very deserving to be the host of this championship.”
The Cyclone Taylor Cup is BC Hockey’s Junior B Championship which features league winners from the Kootenay International Hockey League (KIJHL), the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL), the VIJHL and the host team. The four (4) teams play a round-robin tournament followed by the bronze and gold medal games.
“This is not only a benefit to us as a team, it’s a benefit to our fans – who will be exposed to the best in the province – our sponsors, who have just been nothing short of fantastic over the years in supporting us and we’re hoping this can be seen as a form of reciprocation, and it’s a benefit for the city of Campbell River itself,” says an excited Wes Roed, governor of the Storm. “This is a great way to promote this town and what it means to us. We’re proud of it and we’re proud to play here.
“But in the end, it’s about the players. We want to put on a tournament that they will all remember for a lifetime.”
And although the tournament is still a year away, it will take far more than just a great venue full of enthusiastic fans to make it a success.
“Putting on eight to 10 games is the easy part,” Roed says. “It’s everything else that has to go on in the background. It’s going to take an army of people. We need team liaisons so that everyone knows where things are and what we have to offer as a community, we need to organize VIP rooms, food, security, event staff to make sure we can get the fans flowing easily in and out. We want to get as many local businesses involved so the tournament can benefit them. You’re literally going to be pulled in 20 different directions organizing one of these tournaments, but we’re up for it.”
Or they will be, once they can fully turn their attention to it. The Storm are the 2017-2018 VIJHL champions and will be competing in the 2018 Cyclone Taylor Cup along with the Delta Ice Hawks (PJHL), Kimberley Dynamiters (KIJHL) and the Richmond Sockeyes (host). The tournament gets underway Thursday in Richmond BC. Next season will be the fifth straight time the Storm will compete at the Cyclone Taylor Cup, winning in 2015. Beaver Valley (KIJHL) won the 2017 Cyclone Taylor Cup.
“Right now, there’s another Cyclone Taylor that we need to focus on,” Roed says with a laugh. “But we’ll literally get home and start. You have to, because it’s only a year away, and that goes by so quickly.”
And he’s confident they won’t be short of the help they need.
“Ever since we said we were bidding on it, people have been asking how they can get involved,” Roed says. “We’ve had parents of kids who used to play for us asking if they can come help. It’s been a really amazing outpouring of affection not only for us as a team, but people have seen how awesome a Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament is and they just want to be a part of it.”
Speaking of seeing Cyclone Taylor tournaments, that’s another advantage the organization has heading into the planning phase. The Storm is currently at their fourth straight provincial championship, so they know what it takes to make it a great event and they know where they think they can improve over what other tournaments have offered. Next year will be their fifth straight tournament, no matter how the season goes, as the home team automatically gets a spot in the provincial tournament.
But that’s not going to change anything for how the team approaches next season.
“We would love nothing better than to go in as VIJHL champions and face the team we beat in the finals again in the tournament.”
First things first, though. This year’s Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament begins for the Storm next Thursday when they take on the Richmond Sockeyes in their own rink.
“I’m not a superstitious guy at all, but I was just looking at the forecast for Richmond and it’s supposed to be cloudy and storming the whole time,” Roed says.
“So I guess you could say the Storm is coming.”