Members of the Spokane Chiefs celebrate their 2008 Memorial Cup championship. ((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Pres))

For the first time in franchise history the Memorial Cup has been awarded to the city of Brandon, Man.

The Wheat Kings will play host to the week-long tournament in May of 2010 (14-23), which will mark the organization's 42nd year in the Western Hockey League.

League commissioner Ron Robinson made the announcement Wednesday evening following a meeting of the league's board of governors.

"We were delighted earlier today to announce, on behalf of the Western Hockey League board of governors, that the Brandon Wheat Kings and the province of Manitoba, for the first time, will solely host the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup," Robinson said.

"It'll be the first time one of the longest standing franchises in Western Hockey League history will have the opportunity to exclusively host this event."

Brandon's bid toppled competing bids from both Everett, Wash., and Kelowna, B.C. The Rockets played host to, and won, the 2004 tournament while Everett has yet to host the tournament during their six years in the league.

"We've been 42 years in the Western Hockey League, we've never applied. We've always had such tremendous hosts for the event," said Kelly McCrimmon, governor, general manager and head coach of the Wheat Kings.

"We just looked at this as possibly being our one-time chance to bring the event to our city and to our province of Manitoba."

Just prior to the August application deadline both the province and the City of Brandon stepped up with a combined $5 million for improvements to the 5,102-seat Keystone Centre in an effort to boost the Wheat Kings' bid.

"The Province of Manitoba and the City of Brandon both stepped up financially," added McCrimmon. "It's really not only going to enhance the Memorial Cup, it's going to leave a real lasting legacy for the hockey club and the building."

The Wheat Kings have been to the Memorial Cup tournament on three occasions: 1979, 1995 and 1996. Additionally, the city hosted two round-robin games during the 1980 Memorial Cup, which was awarded to Regina.

Rimouski, Que., is the host city of the 2009 Memorial Cup, which is scheduled from May 15-24.

The Memorial Cup tournament features the two best teams from the host league (WHL) along with the top team from the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.