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Preparations for Memorial Cup well underway in Saint John

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The countdown to the Memorial Cup is on with less than two months to go until the city of Saint John plays host to one of the most high-profile and prestigious hockey championships in Canada.

“We’re exactly 57 days away so it’s right around the corner,” says president of the Saint John Sea Dogs Trevor Georgie. “It’s obviously a major event and it takes a lot of horsepower to get ready and also to execute.”

Organizers have secured a team of 500 volunteers who have signed up to help during the more than week-long national tournament, and at this point, about 20 per cent of tickets remain.

“We were on pace to probably sell this event out before Christmas but then the lockdowns happened,” says Saint John Bid Committee Chair Mark-Anthony Ashfield. “That certainly put a bit of a damper on some of the ticket sales, but now things are going great — we fully expect this event to be sold out.”

The Memorial Cup was put on pause for the past two years due to the pandemic, and was last hosted in 2019 in Halifax – an event that drew tens of thousands of participants and spectators to the city.

“In 2019, the Memorial Cup in Halifax generated almost $18 million in economic impact for the province of Nova Scotia,” CHL president Dan MacKenzie said in September, at the announcement that Saint John was successful in its bid.

“Our expectation is that the event here in New Brunswick will be just as impactful.”

Georgie says along with hockey, there will be much more fanfare happening around the city as well.

“We’ve nights of fireworks shows, we’ve got the hockey hall of fame coming in and doing an exhibit, we have a speaker series focused on equity, diversity and inclusion – we’ve got a concert series with major acts coming.”

It was also recently revealed that as part of the event, the host organizing committee will be building a ball hockey arena in the city.

“So there’s going to be lots here during the Memorial Cup, but there’s also going to be lots that’s left for the community beyond the Memorial Cup,” says Ashfield.

“Very exciting times for the community for sure.”

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