Bulldogs look for big bite as provincial hosts

Vince Burke

VInce Burke

Camrose Canadian

The Camrose Bulldogs don't want to host the bantam AA provincial championships; they want to be the zone 7 champions going into the tournament.

Camrose was selected the host city for the 2011 Hockey Alberta bantam major AA provincials March 17 to 20 at the Edgeworth Centre.

Want to be zone champs, too

The Bulldogs, by default, become the host team and are guaranteed a spot at provincials. But coach Mike Filipchuk said that is not good enough for his squad. He said the team is turning on the steam to make sure it wins the zone 7 playdowns and is not only the host but also zone champions going into provincials.

"The boys are really excited about it, but we said right from the start once it was announced, it is great to be the host, but we don't want to just go in as the host," he said.

"We are gearing up and working hard in practice to make sure that we are the zone champion as well. We are going to do everything to make sure we are the zone champion and not just waltz in as the host and say 'here we are.'"

The Bulldogs will play the winner of the Wainwright Kings and the Sherwood Park Sabres for the zone 7 championships. Either way, Camrose is in the provincial tournament and so is the winner of the Sabres and Kings, because if Camrose, as provincial hosts, win the zone, the runner up still gets a slot at provincials.

The Bulldogs are also concentrating on league play where they are second in their division.

Beat out Leduc for tournament

Hockey Alberta recently made the announcement, granting Camrose the provincial tournament, over bids from centres like Leduc, who was runner up to Camrose. Filipchuk said a lot went into the bid for Camrose.

"It goes right through the steps from where your team is in the standings, to financial support from the community, to all the hotel rooms secured and it asks about your arena facilities. It is a lengthy process and it probably is a 30 to 35 page bid package," said Filipchuk, who added because of what Camrose has to offer, they were pretty confident about the bid.

"It ended up being between ourselves, Leduc and Wainwright to host this provincials, and we ended up obviously winning the bidding process.

"I think (Leduc) was pretty confident too but I think it worked a little bit in our favour because the folks at Hockey Alberta, they hosted a female summer (hockey) camp here last year. They were very familiar with our arena and our set up and where everything was."

Planning begins

Now organizing begins for the event, that will see teams representing zones from around the province converged on the Rose City. Filipchuk said finding volunteers and sponsors is top on the list of priorities.

"Our biggest job right now is to secure sponsors from the community," he said.

"Basically what happens is once we are awarded provincials, we are on the hook for all ice costs and all refereeing costs and all the extra costs that are accrued by the host community."

Filipchuk said the price tag is $10,000 to $12,000. He said there are perks for sponsors. Sponsors would be featured prominently in advertising and also pointed to as a destination point for visitors.

"If you are a restaurant or somebody who could benefit, a hotel, we try to funnel teams through your establishment to try and help you out as well," he said.

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