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Cougars commit to 2013 Memorial Cup bid process

Call it a dry run, or a proving ground. The Subway Super Series game that will be played at CN Centre next Thursday (Nov.

Call it a dry run, or a proving ground.

The Subway Super Series game that will be played at CN Centre next Thursday (Nov. 18), pitting Team WHL against Russia, is being treated as part measuring stick, part resume-fodder for a bid to bring the 2013 Memorial Cup to Prince George.

The Cougars have given verbal confirmation to the Western Hockey League that the franchise will bid to play host to that spring's Canadian Hockey League championship tournament, a four-team affair that sees the host team joined by the playoff champions from the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"Absolutely, that's how we're treating this," said Brandi Brodsky, vice-president of the Cougars.

"The league will be looking at a number of things when they evaluate who would be the best host for the 2013 Memorial Cup. One of them is fan support, and how the city is supporting the team. We're hoping to showcase Prince George to the CHL in an event of this calibre and show them this city can support an event as big as the Memorial Cup."

The team's attendance woes over the past eight seasons have been well documented, mirroring the on-ice success of the Cougars. Brodsky pointed out the stands were full as recently as 2007 when Devin Setoguchi and Co. swept the Kamloops Blazers and upset the No. 1-ranked Everett Silvertips in the second round before losing the Western Conference final to the Vancouver Giants, who went on to win the Memorial Cup.

"We would fill the stands for the Memorial Cup, we have every confidence in that, but it goes way beyond that," said Brodsky.

"It's corporate support, it's media support, and you have to start to take the steps at some point. I think (the Subway Super Series game) is going to be a good way to showcase the city, our facility, and our volunteers. We have a lot to offer."

Brodsky said the official letter of interest for the 2013 Memorial Cup does not have to be in until April, and the expectation is that as many as 10 of the 22 WHL franchises will bid on the event.

"The competition will be fierce," she said. "The process is difficult to go through -- it's time-consuming, and it's expensive. We certainly are serious about it."