Communities, minor hockey benefit from hosting growing international event
CALGARY, Alta. – Team Canada White may have captured the on-ice prize at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, but the off-ice gold-medal winners were the Peace Region and the legacy funding benefactors in the communities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
The eight-day tournament, hosted at the Encana Events Centre and North Peace Arena, attracted more than 30,000 fans over 26 games. A capacity crowd of 4,258 was on-hand at the Encana Events Centre to witness Team Canada White secure the first gold medal for a Canadian representative since 2011 – marking the event’s third-highest attendance figures in the last five years.
“The overwhelming success of the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is especially impressive given the host communities had just under six months to prepare and execute on this growing international event,” noted community co-chairs Wally Ferris and Barry Reynard. “Our host committee is proud to announce that the communities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John will share in a legacy of close to $120,000 stemming from the proceeds of the event, and an additional $50,000 from 50/50 proceeds will go to minor hockey associations in the two communities.”
Ferris and Reynard added that a number of factors contributed to the financial success of the event, including community support of ticket sales, strong support of the business community, provincial and municipal funding, and the incredible commitment from volunteers and local stakeholders.
“The benefits to our community have been substantial. It was only with the overwhelming support of our citizens who stepped up to dedicate countless volunteer hours, and our many corporate sponsors, that this was even possible,” said City of Fort St. John Acting Mayor, Dan Davies. “We are grateful for their support and we look forward to hosting more world-class events.”
An economic impact study conducted during the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in partnership with Tourism Dawson Creek and the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance concluded that the combined spending of operations and visitors to the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge totalled close to $6 million in economic activity for the Peace Region and the province of British Columbia.
Dawson Creek mayor, Dale Bumstead, echoed the sentiments of Acting Mayor Davies: “This event has been remarkable for northeastern British Columbia. A compressed timeframe to execute this tournament was no small feat, but the impact and outcome has been exceptional. I am proud of what we have accomplished.”
The 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge will be hosted in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.