The Shawinigan Cataractes will be the host team for the 2012 Memorial Cup junior hockey championship.
Delegates leapt to their feet as the head of the independent selection committee, Gerald Janneteau, read out the team's name Thursday at a downtown hotel.
"A lot of people worked really hard to get this and we're very happy," said Michel Angers, mayor of the city of 51,000 in the Mauricie region 135 kilometres northeast of Montreal. The Cataractes also draw fans from nearby Trois-Rivieres, Que., which has about 140,000 residents.
Shawinigan lost out to Rimouski, Que., when it bid for the 2009 Memorial Cup, but its new arena, the Bionest Centre, was still under construction at the time. The rink holds 5,195 for hockey.
They beat out Nova Scotia bids from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and Halifax Mooseheads, as well as the Saint John Sea Dogs from New Brunswick.
Janneteau called it a difficult choice between four strong bids but said a confidentiality agreement prevents him from saying what tipped the odds to Shawinigan.
The four-team tournament features the winners of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Western Hockey League, plus the host team. Each league plays host to the event every three years.
General manager Martin Mondou said his team was built to peak in 2012 in anticipation of landing the tournament.
"I said from the first day three years ago that I don't want a free pass to the Memorial Cup and just be a passenger," said Mondou, whose club will be the underdog in a second round playoff series starting Friday against the Quebec Remparts. "The focus will all be on winning.
"We have great coaching, and a great core of players. We have 21 out of 23 players coming back next year. We know what's missing now and we'll do what we need."
Each bid was analyzed by a five-member committee led by Janneteau that included former NHL star Vincent Damphousse.
Also, the Baie-Comeau Drakkar won the lottery for the first pick in this year's league draft.
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