The Brooks Bandits, champs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, will be the final champions of the Western Canada Cup as the four Western Canadian junior A leagues will finalize returning back to the Doyle (B.C./Alberta) and Anavet (Saskatchewan/Manitoba) Cup format for 2017-18 during its upcoming Canadian Junior Hockey League meeting. Mark Brett/Western News

Financial reasons to spell end of Western Canada Cup

B.C. Hockey League commissioner John Grisdales cites expenses as reason Western Canada Cup to end after five years

The Western Canada Cup will end after five years where it began — in B.C.

Five years ago the Western Canada Cup (WCC) was launched in Nanaimo and it was held for the final time in Penticton, having wrapped up on May 7.

B.C. Hockey League commissioner John Grisdale confirmed effective the 2017-18 season that entry in the RBC Cup for B.C. and Alberta will come via the Doyle Cup, while for Saskatchewan and Manitoba, it will be the Anavet Cup. Grisdale said the four Western Canadian Junior Hockey Leagues will finalize moving from all four leagues playing in the WCC to determine the two RBC teams back to the old format of the Doyle and Anavet Cups at the upcoming CJHL meeting.

“It was a decision that the other leagues made that they didn’t feel they wanted to continue,” said Grisdale. “It was a profit issue more than anything else. I think at the end of the day, with it not being the end of the year tournament, a lot of expense.”

Grisdale said for Penticton to host it was a terrific gesture adding he is quite hopeful that it’s a profitable tournament. He said it was pretty well attended. The WCC total attendance was 28,038 over nine days with the largest crowd being 3,021 between the Vees and Battlefords North Stars.

“It ended on a positive note,” said Grisdale.

The commissioners of the four leagues had been discussing the future of the tournament for a while, Grisdale said. He added if the other partners feel different about it, it makes it hard to justify. No teams had submitted bids to host the tournament next year. Grisdale said the future of the WCC had been pretty much finalized while Penticton was hosting last week.

Having the tournament go for five years was giving it a good shot, according to Grisdale.

“Five years is pretty good to see how it was vetting out,” he said. “There was a lot of positives. If it was the end of the year, if it was the last tournament, I think we might have had different results. It would have had more impact.”

After Nanaimo hosted the first tournament, the WCC went to Dauphin, Man., in 2014, Fort McMurray in 2015, where the Penticton Vees won and in Estevan, Sask., in 2016.

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