April 30 is the application deadline to host the 2021 Junior A Hockey Championships and organizers behind the City of Penticton’s bid are confident that the city has put in a strong bid.
According to Penticton resident Stewart Ladyman, the chair of the organizing committee behind the bid, multiple private corporations have offered to sponsor and support the event if it comes to the city in May 2021. The 10-day tournament would bring thousands of visitors to the city, with teams utilizing the South Okanagan Events Centre for the games.
“This is a community event, it’s a Penticton issue — not just hockey — since it involves the SOEC, the Penticton Vees and the citizens. So that’s the approach we took to putting our application together,” said Ladyman.
City council pledged $100,000 from the 2021 municipal budget to help satisfy the required bid obligations. The city could stand to see a return of $60,000 to $70,000 generated by rent and food and beverage sales, while the rest of the profit would go into a legacy for the city and the organizing committee to disperse into the community as they see fit.
Ladyman said despite the fact that the committee had learned that Hockey Canada received nine applications from potential host cities for the championship, they believe Penticton has a strong chance of being selected due to its prior experience of hosting events and the strong community support. The Western News learned that the Trail Smoke Eaters, Nanaimo Clippers and Salmon Arm Silverbacks are some of the other cities putting in bids.
“This would coincide with the 60th anniversary of the Vees, so junior hockey in Penticton, and we believe it would be an excellent way to celebrate this junior team in our community,” said Ladyman. “We think that we have excellent records in this town of hosting events, not only hockey but all of the other things that go on.
“This community realizes that the economic spin-off from hosting a 10-day event, which will get national TV recognition, is one of our life bloods to keeping Penticton going. We’re fortunate that we live in a beautiful land and this would be a May event, so just the start of our season but still off-season, so it will help the restaurants and hotels and all the other businesses.”
Ladyman said the committee is not sure when they will hear the decision of Hockey Canada, but did note that it will first get narrowed down to three cities. From there, the organization will tour each, likely in June 2019, and then decide which city will host the championship event.
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