The Kamloops Blazers will play host to the 2023 Memorial Cup.
Canadian Hockey League president Dan MacKenzie, Blazers’ majority owner Tom Gaglardi and former NHL stars Jarome Iginla and Scott Niedermayer were among those at Sandman Centre on Friday to make the announcement before Kamloops and the Seattle Thunderbirds squared off in Game 5 of the Western Conference final.
Former Blazer Jermaine Loewen was in town to turn the siren in a pre-game ceremony. He ripped it off the railing it was fastened to while trying to spin it and proceeded to hold it high in the air.
“We are very excited to bring back the Memorial Cup to Kamloops after an almost 30-year hiatus,” MacKenzie said in a press release. “The Blazers and the City of Kamloops put together a first-class bid and will be outstanding hosts.”
Beginning as the Blazers in 1984, the club has participated in the Memorial Cup six times, capturing CHL supremacy in its three most recent trips (1995, 1994, 1992) to the year-end championship.
The 2023 rendition marks the second time Kamloops will host the Memorial Cup, having last done so in 1995 when the club hoisted the iconic trophy with a lineup that counted future NHL stars such as Shane Doan and Jarome Iginla.
“On behalf of the Kamloops Blazers' owner group and our host organizing committee, we are so pleased to have been able to secure this event for our communities,” said host organizing committee chair Norman Daley. “We are ready to engage our fans, partners, and volunteers to make the 2023 Memorial Cup special.”
Currently competing in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference Championship series, the Blazers shined throughout the 2021-2022 regular season, claiming their third consecutive B.C. Division title with a record of 48-17-3-0 and 99 points.
“On behalf of Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc, we are thrilled to hear that the Kamloops Blazers and the City of Kamloops will be hosting the Memorial Cup in 2023,” said Tḱemlúps te Secwépemc ouncillor Dave Manuel. “We are honoured that this prestigious event will be held on Tk̓emlupsemcúl̓ecw. It will be a pleasure to watch world class junior hockey players compete for this championship.”
Added Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian, “Council have unanimously supported this bid and are very anxious to host the nation and showcase the Kamloops Blazers and Sandman Centre.”
The Blazers are led by general manager and head coach Shaun Clouston, while on the ice the club's roster is highlighted by five NHL drafted players including captain and hometown product Logan Stankoven, a 2021 second-round selection of the Dallas Stars who finished third in WHL scoring in 2021-2022 with 104 points in 59 games, as well as 19-year-old goaltender Dylan Garand, a 2020 fourth-round selection of the New York Rangers who closed out 2021-2022 amongst the league leaders where through 45 appearances he recorded 34 wins alongside a .925 save percentage and 2.16 goals-against average.
Additionally, four players from the Blazers have been ranked by Central Scouting ahead of the 2022 NHL Draft, headlined by budding centre and Vancouver native Fraser Minten who sits 28th among North American skaters.
Kamloops will be one of four teams to participate in the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia alongside the playoff champion from each of the Western Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
All games from the 2023 Memorial Cup presented by Kia will be nationally televised by TSN and RDS.
Cancelled the past two seasons due to the global pandemic, the 2022 Memorial Cup presented by Kia returns this summer from June 20 to June 29 in Saint John, N.B.
“After a two-year hiatus, Kia Canada is excited to welcome the return of the Memorial Cup this year, which honours the men and women who have and continue to serve our great country,” said Kia Canada Director of Marketing Michael Kopke. “Congratulations to the Kamloops Blazers on their successful bid for the 2023 Memorial Cup tournament.”