Salmon Arm is hoping to play host to one of the most prestigious hockey tournaments in Canada in 2021.
The newly formed Shuswap Sports Society presented to Salmon Arm council on March 12, where they officially announced their plans to submit a bid to host the Junior A National Championships in 2021.
The diverse group of business representatives and hockey enthusiasts came together to form the society with the primary goal of securing this event for the Shuswap. The Junior A National Championships, previously known as the RBC Cup, is a premier competition for amateur hockey in Canada. At the beginning of each Junior A hockey season, 135 teams across Canada compete for the chance to represent their community. At the end of the season the top four, along with the host team, meet at the championship finals. The spring event attracts national media, live television coverage and a large number of spectators.
“Having had the opportunity to live in this incredible community for the last five years, I can say with certainty that Salmon Arm would be the ideal host for the National Championships,” says Ian Gray, chairperson for the Shuswap Sports Society. “Our community is a hockey hub and we have outstanding facilities, from the SASCU Recreation Centre, to our area accommodations, unique downtown and diverse recreation opportunities. If successful in securing the bid, Salmon Arm and the Shuswap will be on every visitor’s radar as a potential place to live, work and play.”
Directors Ian Gray, Daron Mayes and Brooks Christensen shared their excitement with council on March 12, where they received unanimous support for the bid submission. Gray noted that if successful in securing the 10-day event, visitor spending and extensive media coverage is projected to generate more than $2 million in economic impact for the Shuswap. Only the top three community bids will be given the opportunity to present their proposal to Hockey Canada in mid-May at the 2019 National Championship in Brooks, Alta., and the Shuswap Sports Society is hoping to be included.
Over the coming month, until the bid to host is due to be submitted, the society will be reaching out to community leaders as they seek support for Salmon Arm’s bid.
“As a small community, we will need everyone behind this big idea. Recognizing Salmon Arm’s hockey spirit and unmatched community pride, we know we will be successful in securing all the support needed,” said Christensen, society director and Silverbacks’ operations manager.