There are two major sporting events that have not been held in Prince George, to which the city is more than qualified to host.

One is the Memorial Cup, which by the way begins tonight in Windsor, Ontario, while the other is the Tim Horton’s Brier.

The Prince George Cougars have a long-term goal of hosting Canada’s number one junior hockey tournament but it still could be many years before a Memorial Cup at CN Centre becomes a reality.

The national men’s curling championship is a bit of a different story.

In fact, plans are underway to bring the Brier to Northern BC in just three years.

Prince George did a superb job in hosting the 1983 and 2000 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Canadian Women’s Curling Championship and the Road to the Roar pre-Olympic qualifying curling tournament in 2009.

The Brier remains the highest profile curling showcase in the country and the city of Prince George will leave no stone unturned (sorry for the pun) to host the 16-team event in 2020.

Curling participation numbers in Canada may be down compared to 20 years ago, but the sport’s popularity on television, particularly TSN, remains very strong.

There is no doubt Prince George would reap the benefits of hosting such a prestigious competition while being in the national spotlight for a 10-day period.

The Brier could generate an estimated $10-$15 million for the city.

This week, Prince George City Council decided to support a bid, in partnership with Tourism Prince George, to bring the Canadian Men’s Curling Championship to the CN and Kin Centres February 23rd to March 2nd of 2020.

The CN Centre’s seating capacity is nearly 6,000, which is the minimum criteria for an event of this magnitude.

Residents in PG pride themselves on being the “Volunteer Capital” of the province if not the country.

Coming up with 500 volunteers would be easy.

In fact, there could be thousands of applications to choose from.

The city has promised $500,000 for the bidding stage, but taxpayers should not be alarmed with that figure; the half-a-million dollars does include value-in-kind commitment.

“From what I hear, from what I see, they (Prince George residents) absolutely love it when we try to bring these large sporting events to our community,” said Mayor Lyn Hall.

“You heard from staff that they got positive feedback from hosting the 2015 Canada Winter Games, hosting of the Telus Cup. Large sporting events know that we can handle that.”

Prince George is a progressive city that welcomes the opportunity to showcase the warmth and hospitality of Northern BC.

“With the level of support that this community gives to national sporting events, both from a corporate and as well from a volunteer side, there’s definitely nothing that Prince George can’t do,” said CN Centre General Manager and bid spokesperson Glen Mikkelsen.

Keep in mind we are in the very early stages.

The application isn’t due for another year and often there are multiple strong bids from across the country.

Next year’s Brier will be held in Regina and bids for 2019 must be given to Curling Canada by the end of June.

It’s a humongous job to host a major sporting event, just like it takes immense planning for a big successful wedding… hopefully, Prince George isn’t left at the alter come 2020.

THUNDERBIRDS FLY THE COOP IN WINDSOR??

There is no disputing that the Seattle Thunderbirds were the best team in the WHL.

The Thunderbirds were just an honorable mention in the CHL’s final Top 10 rankings of the season in March, but they peaked at the right time.

A sweep of Tri-City in Round One of the WHL Playoffs was a tune-up.

A sweep of the Western Conference regular season-champion Everett Silvertips raised some eye brows and may have been a factor in the Silvertips deciding to fire their most successful coach ever, Kevin Constantine, replacing him with Dennis Williams.

Seattle then needed six games in the Western Final to eliminate the Kelowna Rockets, who had the league’s best record from February on.

The Thunderbirds capped it off by taking the Ed Chynoweth Cup in six games over the CHL’s top-ranked team, the Regina Pats.

While the Thunderbirds have been enjoying their first League title, I would bet against them winning the Memorial Cup in Windsor.

There are two reasons that stick out… recent history and a rookie goalie.

The WHL has only won once in the last eight years at the Memorial Cup (Edmonton Oil Kings, 2014).

In addition, the WHL champions earned gold in just three of the last 14 Memorial Cups that were played in Eastern Canada.

The Thunderbirds have plenty of firepower and a strong blue line anchored by the league’s best defenceman Ethan Bear.

However, the play of recently turned 17-year-old Carl Stankowski will be the deciding factor in the Thunderbirds bid for a national title.

Stankowski has been superb and one could make a case he has been just as valuable as sniper, teammate and WHL playoff MVP Mathew Barzal.

He is the youngest netminder to lead his team to a WHL Championship since fellow 16-year-old rookie Dan Blackburn won with the 2000 Kootenay Ice.

Stankowski was Seattle’s second round pick in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft and made just seven regular season appearances before his heavy playoff workload.

The opportunity was presented following an injury to Seattle’s regular season starter Rylan Toth.

In post-season play, Stankowski has a 16-4 record with a 2.50 goals-against-average and .911 save percentage.

A great story by a young goalie that has excelled, however, this is a bigger stage with much more attention and pressure.

Picking a winner for the Memorial Cup?

I have this “Erie” feeling it will be the Otters.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

 

The New York Yankees on the weekend retired Derek Jeter’s number.  But a lot of women still have it.

 

*Seth Meyers (Late Night)

 

A Toyota Land Cruiser set the record as the world’s fastest SUV after reaching 230 mph. Apparently a mom was really late to their kid’s soccer game.

 

*Conan O’Brien of TBS

 

Josh Gordon’s appeal for reinstatement to the NFL after multiple marijuana issues has been denied.   Now if he’d only hit a woman while in a steroid-induced rage after being caught with a DUI, he’d be back by mid-season.

 

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

 

The wife of NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is now pregnant with his 14th child.  Do we call him Octo-Dad?

 

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

 

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has still not had an offer from any NFL teams. One more week with no suitors and he will be most likely to start kneeling on both knees.

 

*Comedy writer Tony Chong

 

A company is making diapers with MLB logos on them. They were also going to put NFL logos on them, but nobody wanted a diaper with the name the Browns on it.

 

*Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

 

Skippy peanut butter finally pulled its product from Canadian shelves. No surprise to insiders, who were betting against the spread.

 

*Comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

 

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the Goat.
He also is the 94.3 radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca
Follow him on twitter: @Hartley_Miller