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Editorial: The Centennial Cup is finally here

The end of May will offer a lot of excitement for the community and our guests. An editorial on the Centennial Cup starting today.
Centennial Cup Estevan announcement
Centennial cup Estevan 2022 committee co-chair Cory Prokop.

It was about three years ago that the City of Estevan and the Estevan Bruins submitted their bid to bring the Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship to Estevan. 

At the time, Estevan was gunning for the 2021 tournament, but after our city finished in a dead heat with Penticton, B.C, for the tournament, it was decided that Penticton would host in 2021 and Estevan would get the tournament for 2022. 

We know what happened from there. The 2020 and 2021 tournaments were cancelled due to COVID-19, and after some uncertainty, it was decided that Estevan would host this year, as they rightfully should.   

It’s unlikely that a Centennial Cup host has had to endure more question marks to get to the point of hosting the event.

Since the announcement was made in December 2019 that the 2022 competition would be held in Estevan, the two other editions of the Centennial Cup have been cancelled.

There had to be numerous times in which the tournament’s local steering committee wondered if they would ever get to this point. Would COVID claim another national championship? Would Penticton get the 2022 tournament, pushing Estevan back to 2023? Would they be able to play before a capacity crowd at Affinity Place? 

During the winter, it was decided that the national tournament would be a 10-team showdown for the first time, instead of the conventional five entries. That meant all sorts of pivots. It meant there would be more teams here. It meant there would be more games, which puts a greater strain on the ice at Affinity Place and the City of Estevan staff who work at the venue.  

And it created all sorts of logistical issues. 

But we’re here. The Centennial Cup is ready to begin. And this community is all kinds of excited for the tournament to begin. 

Granted, if people weren’t excited about this championship, the Estevan Bruins run to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League title would have changed minds. It’s been more than a week and a half since our beloved Black and Gold won its first SJHL championship since 1999, and the community is still on a high.  

It’s important for us to show how excited we are about the tournament.

We think it’s great to see all of the signs up in the community, welcoming people to Estevan. It’s one thing to talk about wanting to have a big event in the community; it’s another thing to show it. 

We can also greet people and tell them how happy we are to have them here. You’re going to see a lot of people you haven’t seen previously. 

We know that people are going to come here and rave about the venue where the games were held, the excellent hockey they watched, the quality accommodations that they had in our hotels and the service and food they had at our restaurants. Hopefully they will also rave about our business community as a whole and the appearance of the city. 

But let’s also remember that for the rest of the month, we’re all going to be ambassadors of our community at all times. Even when a team is facing the Bruins, we can be classy while still cheering loudly for the home team.  

Let’s make sure our city looks good, too.

This tournament is the type of event that we’ve been waiting for, likely the biggest for Estevan since the 2018 Home Hardware Canada Cup curling showdown. There will be a multi-million dollar spinoff, especially now that the tournament is bigger than it’s ever been before. 

For some people, this will be their first and only impression of Estevan and its people.  

For others, they are coming knowing that they likely won’t be back again.

If you’ve come to Estevan for the Centennial Cup, welcome to the Energy City. We’re glad you’re here. 

And for those of us who make Estevan our home, let’s make the most of these next two weeks.