Another great hockey tournament will be taking to the ice at the TG Smith Centre as the Eastman Selects announced they will be hosting the 2017 Telus Cup Western Regionals.
Coach of the Selects Calvin Bugyik is excited the tournament is coming to Steinbach after such a long absence. "It's been about 15 years it was in Steinbach. We felt it was time for our region and our program to have another crack at hosting it and it's pretty exciting to know it's going to happen."
Although the puck won't drop till spring of 2017, Bugyik gives details about what fans can expect from the event. "The Telus Cup is the national championship for midget AAA hockey and it's in Prince George, BC and the Telus Cup Western Regional which we're hosting takes in the Northern Ontario hockey representative, the Manitoba provincial champion, the Saskatchewan provincial champion and the host team so we have a four team tournament for a few days and the winner of that will be the Western representative at the National Championship.
This tournament will put on display some of the top talent from Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and Bugyik breaks down what will be a very strong Western category. "It'll be very good hockey. The Sask champs are always a very good team, the Manitoba champs are a very good team, Thunder Bay over the years has had success when they made it through. Over the years the Western champs, even on the National level have a lot of success. Next year, I expect four really good teams go be playing."
It's not been an easy process to get the Teuls Cup Western Regionals to come to Steinbach but Bugyik knows it's all worth it. "There was a formal application process that you go through with Hockey Manitoba that is pretty involved. There's criteria that needs to be met for what's ultimately a Hockey Canada event. We expressed interest in doing this and there was a lot of discussion before the application was put forth."
The TG Smith Centre has seen it's fair share of big events in the past and Bugyik knows that the facility and the people around the arena will be up for another premier hockey event. "There's been plenty of events and plenty of people around that have experience with an event like this. From our end, we focus on the team on the ice and we're excited to have a chance to play for a spot in the National Championship."
Planning is underway but when it comes to how many people will be needed, Bugyik thinks it's still a bit early to know. "We're not quite at that point yet but there will be volunteers needed. There's a lot of positions available for game day operations for an event like this. I'm sure as we get moving into the summer and into the fall time, we will have an idea of how many positions we will need to be filled and what the schedule will look like."
Even with the event being quite a ways away, Bugyik is more then excited about what the event means for his team. "We're really excited to have the opportunity to play in that tournament with a spot at Nationals on the line and we feel that if we put on a successful event, we can put something together that will have a lasting effect on our program and we're looking forward to getting underway in the fall time."