Some upset over N.S. hockey tournament change of venue
The Riverview Red Cup, a popular high school hockey tournament in Cape Breton, will soon have a new home for the first time in more than four decades.
The event is one of the most prestigious high school sporting events in the Maritimes. It typically attracts thousands of people to the Sydney-area and creates an atmosphere both the players and community look forward to each year.
A spokesperson for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional Centre for Education says the tournament will move from the older County Arena in Coxheath, N.S. to a much more modern facility in the Membertou Sports and Wellness Centre.
In an email, they say the move is being made to provide an accessible facility for athletes and fans.
Some say they are worried the change will take away from what the tournament is known for.
“To me - it's disappointing. I think we could've had a discussion about some of the challenges they faced, and we have over the years, and I think we've met those challenges,” says Paul MacDonald the manager of facilities for the CBRM, which operates County Arena. ”I think it's a safe building. We've never had any concerns from anybody, and if we have we've dealt with them and adapted to them. I'm very confident we could host this event easily and safely at the County Arena.”
But Riverview High School is advocating for the construction of closer adequate athletic and recreational facilities for students. They say suitable facilities would enable Riverview to host superlative high school athletic tournaments in all sports for years to come.
For now, some think it is the wrong move.
“They're 16, 17, 18-year-old kids and they're allowed to have fun - and they're just taking that away from them,” says hockey fan Brent Desveaux. “We all know the mystic of the Red Cup with Riverview High School, that's what kids strive for after Christmas. They're basically taking it all away from them. They can have a Red Cup at Membertou, but it won't be the same.”
Paul MacDonald says the municipality would still be willing to have a discussion about bringing the tournament back to County Arena in the future.
The event is set to begin Feb. 3rd.