Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver and Victoria.
The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.
This time, HockeyCanada.ca sat down with Lewis Bublé, co-owner of the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
Q: Why is it important for you to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship?
LB: As a co-owner of the Vancouver Giants, with the event being hosted in our province between Vancouver and Victoria, it was important to be involved in an event that means so much to the junior hockey world. This tournament is a good thing and an important thing for those in the hockey community, as well as the wider community here in Vancouver and the province, to grow the sport and to showcase it to the world.
Q: In your mind, what would make this a successful World Juniors?
LB: No matter the score or the outcome of the games, I think the fact these kids will display their talent, their passion, their love for the sport and, maybe as importantly, play with that pride that you can only have when you play with your country’s colours on your jersey. That will be exciting for all to see. I have no doubt it will be extremely high-caliber, up-tempo hockey, and a great way to prove to those that know the sport or those learning the sport that it’s an amazing game.
Q: Why is this event important to Vancouver and to local hockey fans?
LB: There’s an excitement that comes with it. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase the sport. Our market is, like many Canadian cities, a good hockey market, but the future of the sport is important. I think there is so much that we can offer to this city. It’s not just the fact there will be lots of hotel rooms filled and there will be great attendance at all the events, but it’s the buzz that comes with it. It’s just better for the sport of hockey. People will be talking about it and celebrating our success.
Q: What is the legacy you want to see the World Juniors leave?
LB: The legacy would be the stamp of showing the world that this province and this sport are deserving of the attention they’re going to get. I think another legacy will be that this sport continues to grow and to bring in new fans and players. And for the kids that come up, to look at an event like this and to be proud of their involvement in it as players or volunteers, which will be a huge positive.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?
LB: If you look at who makes up that list, there are many, many skillful people with great experience. Working together with a group like that is another case of win-win. You’ve got bright minds, much brighter than mine, working to help make this event a success on all levels. And the connections they and even myself have in the communities we live in and the business communities we’re involved in, it just gives an opportunity to highlight how important, how good and how successful it’s going to be.