The Memorial Cup — originally donated to the Canadian Hockey League by the Ontario Hockey Association in 1919 in remembrance of the young Canadian men and women who died in service of their country in the First World War — will be officially rededicated to all fallen soldiers as part of the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup festivities in Brandon in May.
Considering the Wheat City’s strong ties to CFB Shilo, the gesture will be a truly fitting legacy of Brandon’s hosting opportunity, says the host committee’s event manager, Lois MacDonald.
“We have a deployment that will be coming home (from Afghanistan) right before the Cup, so we saw this as a great opportunity ... to make it relevant to people of t oday,” MacDonald said. “Those sacrifices were made so that we, as Canadians, have freedom to do all the things we do. One of those things is enjoying the great sport of hockey.”
The cup’s official arrival in Westman will occur at CFB Shilo on the afternoon of May 13.
Its rededication will be the pinnacle of a full week of co-operative festivities between the base and the Memorial Cup tournament, says Marc George, director of the base’s Royal Canadian Artillery museum.
“It’s very appropriate that the cup is arriving (at CFB Shilo) because ... Brandon is on the home front of the war in Afghanistan,” George said. “The First World War gets a little bit further away every year. So, this means that every year, as more Canadian troops sacrifice themselves, it stands for them.”
A brand new museum gallery dedicated to Manitoba’s historical military involvement is set to open that morning, wi th free entry into the museum for the duration of the championship.
Plans for the cup’s rededication ceremony also include an official fly-by from the Canadian Snowbirds demonstration team and a number of helicopter demonstrations.
Following the rededication, the cup will be delivered to Brandon by an armoured vehicle convoy to officially kick off the 10-day event in the Wheat City.
An interactive military display will also be set up within the Memorial Cup Village at the Keystone Centre for the duration of the championship.
And though it’s not being directly billed as a Memorial Cup event, there will be another distinctly military event in the city during the cup’s visit.
On May 22, CFB Shilo, in co-operation with Brandon University, Assiniboine Community College and the Brandon Salutes organization, is hosting a gala dinner to raise money for Project Hero — a national program that provides scholarship money to the children of fallen Canadian soldiers
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)