Hamilton welcomes Bulldogs back home with ceremony in Gore Park following Memorial Cup

Fans of the Hamilton Bulldogs helped the team celebrate a fantastic season with a ceremony in Gore Park on Thursday afternoon.

The Ontario Hockey League (OHL) champs pulled into the downtown core on their tour bus touting the Bobby Orr Trophy and J. Ross Robertson Cup, less than a full day after their 6-3 loss to the St. John Sea Dogs in the Memorial Cup final.

Steve Staios, the team’s president and general manager, said he couldn’t be more proud of every single player for what they accomplished throughout the entire season.

“This is the most special team that I’ve ever been around in hockey,” he said during the ceremony. “The one word that comes to mind is courage. Each and every night, they continued to push themselves each other and made us so damn proud every night.”

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Read more: Saint John Sea Dogs skate past Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 to win Memorial Cup

While the past two Memorial Cups were cancelled due to the pandemic, it was Hamilton’s second time at the tournament after advancing to the 2018 semifinals where they fell to the Regina Pats.

Bulldogs owner Michael Andlauer said the team has been ambassadors of the city of Hamilton for the past few weeks.

“Hamilton was showcased from coast to coast for the last month, and they typify what this city is all about: hard work, resilience, dedication, passion, and character. They showcased that by not only beating Windsor and becoming Ontario Hockey League champions but also beating the Western Hockey League champ, eliminating them in the Memorial Cup. And for that, I’m so proud of these guys.”

Despite not being able to bring the Memorial Cup back to Ontario, Andlauer said the team still has the OHL championship victory to be extremely proud of.

Read more: Hamilton Bulldogs win OHL Championship, book trip to Memorial Cup

“We happened to knock off the WHL champion and we knocked off the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion. And we fell a little short with the host city, who had taken 39 days off before playing us … so we won a championship and we lost a tournament.”

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He also expressed his gratitude for the fans, who have supported the team all season long and have cheered extra loud during these crucial past few games.

“Game seven against Windsor, there was a seventh man in the stands and it was you fans. You supported our team. We love it, we saw it at the outdoor game, we saw it all throughout the season. Thank you so much for your support. That’s why hockey is in Hamilton, because of you.”

The Hamilton Bulldogs return to their hometown with a ceremony in Gore Park following the Memorial Cup final. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML
Bulldogs president and general manager Steve Staios addresses the crowd during a ceremony in Gore Park. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML
Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenberger poses with Bulldogs mascot Bruiser. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML
Bruiser the Bulldogs mascot meets with fans in Gore Park. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML
Mason McTavish signs autographs for young fans during the Bulldogs ceremony in Gore Park. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

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