Thursday, 07 December 2017 10:52

Medicine Hat picked a great partner in Swift Current for Under 17 Hockey bid

Written by  Ryan Dahlman
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Swift Current and Medicine Hat cooperating regarding junior hockey? Who knew?


With the simultaneous announcement during the two cmmunities’ respective evening council meetings on Dec. 4, the two were teaming up on an interprovincial joint-bid to try and entice the 2019 Under 17 Hockey Challenge to come to western Canada as Swift Current and Medicine Hat are trying to bring world-class junior hockey to southwest Sask and southeast Alberta.
While at first glance and not knowing the past recent histories of the two cities, it would seem like there's a clear-cut senior and junior partner from just the sheer size of the communities and arenas.
However, if Medicine Hat organizers were smart, they would watch and learn from “how it's done” from their eastern (soon-to-be/could-be) working partner.
After all, Medicine Hat had to tried to entice the 2018 World Under 17 Championships, but were rejected in October. Hockey Canada, the governing body and that tournament’s organizer suggested Medicine Hat try again, but perhaps find a partner and have a joint submission. A brand new arena which holds over 6,000 people looks good on paper for the potential to make good money, especially in a hockey town like Medicine Hat.
Obviously it was missing something to be rejected as it was beat out by Harbour Station in Saint John New Brunswick.
Lo and behold, there's their Saskatchewan neighbors to the east. To those of the snobby urban nature, if one can be a snobby urban in a city of 60+ thousand people, what could a "small town" in southwest Saskatchewan like Swift Current offer?
Well, actually quite a bit.
It is Swift Current which has the experience in dealing with large urban sports networks, ticket distribution, rink schedule, ice treatment, hosting people from all over the world and most of all, providing hospitality and having the volunteers to put on a high-revenue generating, and first...no... world-class level events.
"Where Life Make Sense" is also a place where "Sporting Events Make Cents".  After all, Swift Current got the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championships after the iPlex was renovated to about 2,900 seats in 2009. Then after making a lot of money and created such hype, they the World Women's Curling championships came back in 2016 for a repeat performance.
After years of Cody Snyder bringing his wild and high tech bull riding events to the iPlex, the Canadian Cowboys Association have brought its year-ending championship finals to Swift Current for the past few years and will do so again next year. Swift Current also often holds WHL vs. Russia in the Summitt Series that comes through in the early winter. Which city is hosting the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games?
Why is that? Just follow the dollars. If you don't think that Swift Current events make a lot of money, you are kidding yourself.
Perhaps Medicine Hat organizers got it right. 
Why does it all wok? Cliché, but it's the people. It is not overall difficult to gather volunteers, there seems to be a never ending stream of organizers who know how to handle business (hello, Jeff Chambers) and there's unabashed  enthusiasm from local government (hello Denis Perrault et al).
It's not remotely a guarantee or a lock this joint bid is going to come through for the 2019 Under 17 Championships, but when you combine the two, one would think they would have a shot.
(Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with comments about this opinion piece at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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