July 19th, 2024

Committee backs bid for 2018 World U-17 hockey tourney

By Collin Gallant on August 16, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

A council committee has backed putting city dollars into a proposal to host an international hockey tournament as well as backstop the group’s budget.

Council endorsed a local bid to host the World Under-17 hockey challenge in Medicine Hat in 2018 with a unanimous vote this summer.

On Monday, the public services committee recommended fullfilling the group’s request for a $125,000 grant as well as an assurance that the city would cover any loss on the tournament.

That is a key condition from Hockey Canada.

“There is risk there, but it is really very small,” said committee chair Julie Friesen. “It’s a strong bid. The legacy could be enormous and it would be wonderful to get it.”

Council will discuss the item at the Aug. 21 meeting. The winning bid could be announced in early November. At that time this year’s tournament, featuring prospect-laden teams from several nations as well as three from Canada, will be taking place in co-host cities of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C.

The $125,000 outright grant will be paid out of council’s contingency fund — a general fund allotted each year for emergent items. There are only two months left in the current council’s term.

Any loses from the tournament would be covered out of the city’s Community Capital Reserve. That is currently outlined as a potential $1.2 million item, but that is a theoretical amount due if zero revenue was earned and the tournament still went ahead.

City administrators say the variables are ticket sales and corporate sponsorships, but Medicine Hat and the

Lead organizer Ron Webb said during a presentation to council last month that his group is continually monitoring and prepared to adjust budgets to break even.

Organizers have said the economic spin-off to the local economy could be between $4 million to $6 million.

Committee vice-chair Coun. Les Pearson supported the move, but wanted to see a study of the economic impact done during the event.

The bid group’s budget includes about $320,000 in ticket revenue and another $250,000 in corporate sponsorship.

Another $250,000 is described as federal or provincial grants, and hockey Canada would put $50,000 forward.

With that and other revenue against expected expenses, the tournament would show a profit of $90,000. That would be split evenly into local legacy grant and profit sharing for Hockey Canada.

A second “break even” budget describes reducing expenses in case of lower ticket sales, sponsorship and other revenue.

The city has a history of providing grants to major games and other bid committees usually in the form of waiving fees at city-run facilities, such as arenas or other rec facilities.

That kind of support is usually described as gifts in lieu, and recorded with a dollar value to keep the accounting in order.

This tournament, however, will see actual cash change hands between the city and the group. The group, however, will be expected to pay for use of city rinks, namely the Canalta Centre and Kinplex twin arenas.

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