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Council backs bid to host 2021 Esso Cup

Lloydminster city council has confirmed its support for a bid to have the city host of the 2021 Esso Cup Canadian National Midget AAA Hockey Championship. During the regular council meeting on April 23, the council voted to back a bid proposal initiated by a Lloydminster committee.

The committee is headed by Ryan Sklapsky, Shawn Kaschl and Kent Smith of the PWM Steelers hockey club. Every year, the Esso Cup sees five regional champions from across Canada compete with the host team for the Esso Cup, and the title of national champion. A successful bid would see Lloydminster host the tournament at the Centennial Civic Centre from April 18-24, 2021. Mayor Gerald Aalbers is excited about the bid and the chance to help promote sports.

“We applaud Mr. Sklapsky and his fellow committee member who have brought this exciting opportunity forward for council discussion. We are a city that constantly seeks opportunity to advance youth sport and recreation and we welcome the opportunity to host the athletes, volunteers, families and fans participating in the 2021 Esso Cup,” says Aalbers.

Lloydminster has provided a letter of support for the bid and will help gather additional support letters from local hospitality stakeholders. The city will also compile a short video to showcase the community’s ability to host large-scale competitive events. Sklapsky is excited about the city’s enthusiasm for the bid and for the community support of female hockey.

“Lloydminster’s support for elite female hockey is widely recognized and we are hopeful for a chance to showcase that passion, as well as the calibre of our PWM Steelers organization in 2021. We believe the enthusiastic endorsement of our city council will make for a more compelling bid,” says Sklapsky.

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Hosting the Esso Cup is also an opportunity to build female hockey in the Border City area. Growing the game of female hockey is part of Kaschl’s prerogative from Hockey Alberta as the general manager of Female Elite Hockey. Kaschl believes hosting a national event like the Esso Cup may help inspire new young players in the region.

“We’re tasked with growing the game, making sure that grassroots hockey, the younger generation and girls thinking about joining hockey can come to watch some high-quality hockey. Bringing in an Esso Cup is one of those opportunities that we get to grow the game and show people that might be thinking about playing hockey that it’s always going to be a viable sport,” says Kaschl.

The Lloydminster committee’s bid must be submitted by April 30. Hockey Canada will announce the host community this June. Currently, only Prince Geroge, B.C. is known to be submitting a competing bid. This year’s Esso Cup will be held in Sudbury, Ontario from April 21 to April 27, and the 2020 Esso Cup will be held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan on April 19 to 25.

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