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 Kelowna Rockets

Rockets Announce Intent To Bid For 2026 Memorial Cup

June 13, 2024 - Western Hockey League (WHL)
Kelowna Rockets News Release

Kelowna Rockets centre Tig Iginla
Kelowna Rockets centre Tig Iginla
(Kelowna Rockets, Credit: Steve Dunsmoor)

The Kelowna Rockets announced today their intention to bid for the right to host the 2026 Memorial Cup. As part of the Canadian Hockey League's rotation of the event, the Western Hockey League is scheduled to host the Memorial Cup in late May 2026.

"We are very excited to submit the Kelowna Rockets organization as a host for the 2026 Memorial Cup, along with the tremendous support and commitment from the City of Kelowna as our partner in this bid," said Bruce Hamilton, Rockets President and General Manager.

"We also acknowledge the support of GSL. We are very excited to make every effort to host this event again, it would not be possible without the tremendous desire of the City of Kelowna in helping make this possible. This will be the first of a number of steps we will go through in this process."

If successful in their bid, it would be the second time that the Rockets would host the ten-day tournament. The Rockets were set to host the 2020 Memorial Cup before it was canceled due to Covid-19. Kelowna last hosted the prestigious tournament in 2004 with Captain Josh Gorges, 18-year-old defenceman Shea Weber and eventual tournament MVP goaltender Kelly Guard. The Rockets went on to capture the 2004 Memorial Cup on home ice in front of a sold-out crowd at Prospera Place.

"Today's exciting announcement showcases the strong partnership between the Kelowna Rockets and the City of Kelowna to ensure a successful bid to host the 2026 Memorial Cup. We are committed to investing in the necessary legacy capital improvements to Prospera Place to ensure they comply with both WHL and CHL standard," said Tom Dyas, Mayor of Kelowna, "These enhancements will benefit the community as we continue to host future large-scale events and commit to working alongside GSL to ensure a successful bid."

The Kelowna Rockets have won the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions of the WHL four times and have played in the Memorial Cup five times, winning the tournament on home ice in 2004. The Rockets have also won seven B.C. Division titles.

"The WHL is thrilled the Kelowna Rockets and the City of Kelowna will submit a bid to host the 2026 Memorial Cup," commented WHL Commissioner Dan Near. "The Rockets are one of the premiere franchises in Canadian Major Junior hockey and they have a Memorial Cup title and four WHL Championships to prove it. The commitment from the Hamilton family and the City of Kelowna is to be commended as they seek to bring the crown jewel event of Major Junior hockey to the Okanagan region."

The 2026 Memorial Cup will be the 106th edition of the tournament, which features the playoff champions from the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, in addition to the WHL host team.

Season tickets for the Rockets 2024-25 season are now on sale.

Images from this story

Kelowna Rockets centre Tig Iginla
Kelowna Rockets centre Tig Iginla

(Steve Dunsmoor)

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