The 2019 Allan Cup tournament in Lacombe has landed a major sponsor.
Viking Projects Ltd. was announced Tuesday morning as the title sponsor for next year’s Senior AAA national hockey championship. The tournament will take place at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex in Lacombe in April.
“This gives the tournament a foundation,” Generals GM Jeff McInnis said. “We have all these ideas, but how are you going to do it without sponsorship? It can’t happen without it. We’d fall flat on our face if we didn’t have people who believed in us. So for Viking to say ‘Hey, we believe in that' makes it all real.”
The [Bentley] Generals hosted the Allan Cup tournament at the Red Deer Arena in 2013. That experience, McInnis feels, gives them a leg up this time around.
“We think we set the standard, and we’re real proud of that. With that knowledge and what we have here in Lacombe we can do better. It’s pretty exciting,” he said. “We’re not good at many things, but we’re good at this.”
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the Generals franchise. Co-founder and team president Wes Gyori says it’s crazy to see how fast time has gone and how far things have come.
“There’s been a ton of fun and ton of enjoyment for all of us,” Gyori reminisced. “To have this, the 20th year, and have it in Lacombe and be hosting a national event with these guys [Viking] on board and all the rest behind us as sponsors and volunteers, it’s huge. It’s very exciting.”
“I remember playing against Horse Lake in 2004 and we filled the Centrium. That was one of our first big things,” recalled McInnis, who played for the Generals for several years. “That was 14 years ago and we’ve been having big things ever since. Today, you wake up and go this is another big thing for us. I think it will be a big event, but you hope that it leaves and impression on our community forever.”
McInnis says the recent Rogers Hometown Hockey event in Lacombe shows the city can do it right when it comes to hosting big time sporting events.
“We’re pretty proud of the facility, and the community support and the people who believe in us. This is a chance to show off, which we think is pretty cool.”
Host Committee Chair Steve Christie says recruiting is underway for volunteers to help make the tournament a success.
“We need people to come out. We know that we’re piggybacking on a big event just south of us in 2019 as well [Canada Winter Games], so hopefully some of those volunteers will still be in the spirit and move a little bit north and help us out with our event as well.”
Those interested in sponsoring or volunteering at the 2019 Allan Cup tournament can e-mail [email protected].
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