CALGARY - The Western Hockey League's Red Deer Rebels have been selected to host the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The Rebels will host major junior hockey's biggest tournament for the first time in franchise history after beating out the Vancouver Giants by a majority vote of the WHL Board of Governors in Calgary on Wednesday.
The Memorial Cup will return to Alberta for the first time since 1974, when Calgary hosted the tournament.
The Rebels will automatically qualify for the Memorial Cup as host and will face the champions of the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for major junior hockey's biggest prize.
The Rebels have only been in the tournament once before, winning it all in 2001 in Regina.
"The WHL is very confident the Red Deer Rebels, the City of Red Deer and Province of Alberta will serve as outstanding hosts of the 2016 MasterCard Memorial Cup," league commissioner Ron Robison said in a statement. "The strength of the Rebels organization combined with the enthusiasm of the city and the province will ensure the 2016 event will be one of the best ever."
The 2015 Memorial Cup will be hosted by the QMJHL's Quebec Remparts.