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Businesses bank on Saint John Sea Dogs post-season with Memorial Cup on horizon

Click to play video: 'Saint John Sea Dogs to host Memorial Cup' Saint John Sea Dogs to host Memorial Cup
WATCH: The World Juniors is not the only major hockey tournament headed to the region. The memorial cup is headed to Saint John in June. The home town Saint John Sea Dogs are hosting the tournament, and as Travis Fortnum reports, excitement over hosting the event in the city is building. – May 5, 2022

As the Saint John Sea Dogs embark on their push for the President’s Cup, the word on the street is already fixated on the tournament that follows, with the Memorial Cup set to be hosted in the city next month.

Blue banners adorn storefronts uptown, with one massive one hung inside Market Square — the host of “Fan Fest” through the event, running June 20 to 28.

“It’s getting pretty exciting around here,” said Nick Crozier, operations manager for the Uptown Saint John Business Improvement Association.

“The businesses, the restaurants are expecting lots of patrons.”

Read more: Halifax, Moncton named hosts for 2023 world junior hockey championships

The Memorial Cup brings together hockey fans from all over Canada. Enticing those feet off Saint John streets and into storefronts is going to be a welcome challenge for businesses after more than two years of COVID-19 hardship.

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“The restaurants especially are looking at it as a bit of a kick start,” Crozier said. “They’re looking forward to it.”

Crozier said even more banners will go up around town in the weeks to come, but local Member of Parliament Wayne Long said hosting the tournament itself is worth more in marketing than any traditional advertising could buy.

“You can’t put a price on the exposure Saint John’s going to get during this tournament,” said Long. “The city’s going to be featured on national television for the better part of a week-and-a-half.

Long is no stranger to the Memorial Cup. He was president of the Saint John Sea Dogs when they took part in the championship in 2012.

They lost in the semi-finals to the host team, the Shawinigan Cataractes.

Read more: Halifax, Moncton to make joint bid to host 2023 world junior hockey championship

Long said the organization is no doubt feeling a little added stress as it heads into the playoffs.

“It’s a weight the team has to wear, they’ve got a target on their backs,” he said. “Everybody wants to knock off the hosting team.”

Regardless of how they perform in the playoffs, the Sea Dogs will get to play in the Memorial Cup. The hosting team always does.

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