Wednesday, 06 December 2017 15:20

Swift Current teams up with Medicine Hat for 2019 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge

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The cities of Swift Current and Medicine Hat are submitting a joint bid to Hockey Canada to host the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.


Swift Current councillors approved a motion at a regular council meeting on Dec. 4 to support the bid. The City will accept responsibility for any deficit that may result from hosting the event. Council also approved a second motion for the City to provide a grant of $75,000 towards the cost to host the event.
According to Dean Robson, the City's general manager for community services, the economic impact of recent World Under-17 Hockey Challenge tournaments were between $4 million and $6 million per event.
“All in all it’s a pretty good deal,” he said. “We’re excited to be a part of it. We’re very fortunate that Medicine Hat came and said do you want to run this.”
A Medicine Hat bid committee submitted a proposal to Hockey Canada to host the 2018 tournament, but that bid was unsuccessful.
“So the Medicine Hat community was encouraged by Hockey Canada to find another community, preferably a WHL community, to partner up with and to throw one in for 2019,” Robson explained. “So we were fortunate enough to be contacted and even though it’s a pretty tight deadline for getting the initial bid in, we managed to get one in quickly and now we’re just waiting to see what happens.”
The 2017 tournament was co-hosted by the Dawson Creek and Fort St. John communities in British Columbia and in 2018 the event will be hosted in Quispamsis and Saint John, New Brunswick.
“Hockey Canada has been encouraging all the way down, from the Under-20 to the Under-19, Under-18, Under-17 for partner communities, when you run tournaments of that size,” he said. “For example, this one would be 22 games, 26 if you add the exhibition games. So that’s a lot of games and it gets spread out a little too much. So to keep the excitement up, they spread the games out in a couple of communities and keep a couple of communities interested and that’s where they’ve really seen the success.”
The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will involve eight teams in two divisions. There will be three Canadian teams and five international teams. This tournament, which has been the starting point of many professional hockey careers, has been taking place since 1986.
Swift Current previously hosted the tournament in 1998 at the old Centennial Civic Centre when the event had a different format with a western and eastern host. That year the eastern Canada host was Kitchener.
There will be various expenses to host the tournament and if their bid is successful the two cities will be looking for provincial and federal sponsorship in the form of a hosting or tourism grant. Some of those expenses will involve the cost to have the teams in the community.
“You’re responsible for transportation to Swift Current, for meals and accommodation,” Robson said. “So we're working closely with business and partners and we’ll have our own hockey heroes grant program as well to gather some revenue.”
An estimated budget of $1,2 million will be required to break even on hosting this tournament.
“Right now our projections are that we’d be probably over $100,000 once everything was looked after,” he said. “That’s the estimate as we stand right now.”
In recent years Swift Current has hosted two World Women's Curling championships and the city will also be hosting the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games. He noted that it is quite common for sports governing bodies to require a commitment from host communities to be responsible for any deficit.
“It’s just another encouragement that you’re going to work hard and put everything in place that you can to be successful,” he said.
A City of Medicine Hat council meeting also approved a motion on Dec. 4 to support this joint bid. The City of Medicine Hat will support the bid with a grant of $100,000.
A memorandum of understanding between the bid committees in the two cities will include details such as the operational plan and the financial responsibilities of each community. Hockey Canada will review all bid applications and the successful bid will probably be awarded in early 2018.

Read 170 times Last modified on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 16:03
Matthew Liebenberg

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