Above: Jake Smith (above red) will be done running over Surrey Eagles in the BCHL by the time the 2018 Royal Bank Cup rolls around. But the franchise he currently plays for is about to make a run at hosting Canada’s national junior A championship.
Tourism Chilliwack is leading the charge to bring junior A hockey’s biggest event to Prospera Centre in 2018.
Tourism Chilliwack is preparing a bid to host the 2018 Royal Bank Cup, the national championship tournament for junior A hockey.
Scott Beare is TC’s business development coordinator and Allison Colthorp is TC’s executive director.
They are putting the bid together with input from the Chilliwack Chiefs, City of Chilliwack councillor Ken Popove and Squiala First Nation Chief David Jimmie.
Their massive document will sing the praises of Chilliwack and Hockey Canada will see how that document measures up against a loooooong list of criteria.
The most important will be the venue, and Beare feels Chilliwack’s in excellent shape with Prospera Centre.
“TSN would be here the week of the tournament, so they’ve got to make sure the lighting would be proper,” Beare elaborated. “They’d need to know there’s enough rooms for TSN, the scouts and the teams.”
“And that’s fine because the Chiefs have that ready to roll for us. Prospera Centre is one of the best rinks in Canada for junior A hockey.”
Bid evaluators will look at the City of Chilliwack itself and it’s history of hosting large events.
They’ll want to know the hotel situation and have attendance estimates in hand.
“We’ve got to give them ideas about sponsorship and have marketing and ticket sales plans,” Beare added. “Logistics is a big one. How do we get teams, officials and VIPs to Chilliwack?”
“Accommodation. Transportation. Meals. Stuff like that. Bids like this often come up to 80, 90 or 100 pages by the time you’re all done.”
Hosting the BCHL Showcase the past few seasons help’s Chilliwack’s case.
Each September, the city welcomes all of the BCHL’s teams to town for one weekend. The most recent Showcase saw 17 teams playing 34 games, watched by a small army of college and pro scouts.
“I know the league thinks the Chiefs do a pretty bang-up job with that event,” Beare says. “The attendance the Chiefs get is one the highest in Canada, so that’s going to help us too.”
Chilliwack Chiefs president Glen Ringdal had the BCHL send off a letter of support/recommendation to Hockey Canada.
That’s the first big step.
The deadline to submit the bid will come up fast.
Everything must be done March 18, and the winning bid will be announced at this spring’s Royal Bank Cup in Lloydmister, AB.
“We’ve got to come up with a $50,000 guaranteed fund and we need to sent a $2,500 cheque in with the bid,” Beare says. “We don’t see any issues coming up with that and our plan is to go all-in because we think we’ve got a real good shot at this.”
“I think it will be real wonderful for the community, and everything we’ve gathered up so far has been really positive.”
— While discussing the RBC Cup bid, Beare dropped another interesting tidbit.
The International Ice Hockey Federation is holding the World Women’s Hockey Championship in late March/early April. In the week before the tournament, the Swiss national women’s team will be using Prospera Centre for their training camp.