World junior: Regina city council discusses possible host offer

Regina city council held a special meeting to discuss a potential joint bid with Saskatoon to host the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

The board will hear from several delegates about the possibility of hosting the tournament, including representatives from the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, Regina Economic Development and Regina Exhibition Association Ltd (REAL).

The Saskatoon city council unanimously committed to a joint bid at a meeting Friday morning. The City of Saskatoon will provide $350,000.

In a letter to the board, Regina’s Chamber of Commerce said it approved the offer.

“As a city recognized worldwide for cultivating local, national and international hockey stars, it was only natural for us to host the best junior hockey players,” Chambers interim CEO Tony Playter said in the letter.

“The Regina & District Chamber of Commerce will not only provide promotional support, we would also love for our team members to share their organizational and creative talents on the World Junior planning committee.”

The city government recommended the council support the bid to co-host with Saskatoon, with a total contribution of up to $350,000 from the city.

Support for approval is contingent on confirmed funding coming from other organizations, such as the City of Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Tourism.

The Alliance of Events, Conventions and Trade Shows (ECT) has been invited to participate in bid preparation. The ECT Alliance includes Economic Development Regina (EDR) and is made up of representatives from senior leaders in the Regina Hotel Association (RHA), REAL District (REAL), Tourism Saskatchewan and City of Regina.

The proposed $350,000 commitment will be drawn from ECT funding, including $115,000 in the 2022 attraction budget unrestricted and $235,000 in unrestricted funding from the ECT reserve.

The ECT Alliance conducted an analysis of the possibility of hosting the event, concluding that it would increase the accessibility of international events for Regina residents, contribute to the city’s fall/winter events calendar, provide significant media exposure for the city and provide economic benefits.

According to the city’s report, the Canadian Hockey state hosting the tournament would have an economic impact of $50 million for the host cities. It is estimated that more than 300,000 fans are expected to attend 31 matches, booking more than 15,000 nights of room accommodation.

In addition, games broadcast on TSN/RDS will generate more than 120 million viewers worldwide, according to the report.

“It is important to note that the benefits listed above are for the Championship as a whole. Regina as co-host will therefore only receive a portion of these benefits,” the report reads.

“The exact split cannot be determined at this time but ECT Alliance representatives estimate a possible 60/40 split between Saskatoon and Regina.”

City noted that with Edmonton hosting the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in August and Regina hosting the Gray Cup in November, the financial capacity for western Canada, and Regina in particular, sports fans buying tickets could be reduced this year.

“It is also possible that the next opportunity to draw the Championship to Saskatchewan will occur a few years in the future,” the report said.

In addition to municipal and other stakeholder contributions, provincial government funding is also possible. In 2010, the city said the Saskatchewan Government provided $3 million in fees for the winning bid. Hockey Canada said the tournament had previously received more than $5 million in government funding.

That Ottawa Senators and Quebec City announced they would be exploring a joint bid to host the tournament as well.

The 2023 tournament will be hosted by Russia, but the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) decided to move the event due to the conflict in Ukraine.

More details to follow…

Laura Davis

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