Nanaimo is no stranger to hosting major hockey events – last year Nanaimo hosted Roger’s Hometown Hockey, and in years past it’s hosted the Royal Bank Memorial Cup, the World U-17 Hockey Challenge, and the Western Canada Cup Junior A Hockey Championship.
Adding to its roster Nanaimo recently hosted the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship training camp and exhibition game between Czech Republic and Slovakia last December.
“Nanaimo was thrilled to host this world-class event,” said Nanaimo Hospitality Association Executive Director Dan Brady. “Our city and local hockey community worked closely together to host the training camps and game. It was a tremendous opportunity for Nanaimo to host an International hockey event and certainly raised our profile on the world stage, not to mention having a huge economic and social impact for Nanaimo.”
Nanaimo supported the Vancouver/Victoria bid in 2016 by offering training camp ice time at the Nanaimo Ice Centre and Frank Crane Arenas. “We were ecstatic when Hockey Canada contacted Nanaimo to ask if we could host two of the Federations”, reported Nanaimo’s sport tourism advocate, Trish Smith, “And we were even more excited when Hockey Canada asked if Nanaimo could host a Pre-Competition game between the two Federations!”
“We appreciate the confidence Hockey Canada and the IIHF have shown in our province and we know Nanaimo delivered an experience for the athletes that far exceeded their hosting requirements,” reported Nanaimo Clippers Director of Business Operations, Tali Campbell. We are seeing significant growth of hockey in our province and bringing the IIHF World Junior Championship training camps and Pre-Competition game to Nanaimo will inspire even more young players to pursue their dreams.”
Thanks to the support of Vancouver Island hockey fans the exhibition game sold out within 6 minutes and the local organizing committee made up of the Nanaimo Clippers, the City of Nanaimo and the Nanaimo Hospitality Association voted unanimously to donate the proceeds to Kidsport Nanaimo, which provides grants for Nanaimo children ages 6 to 18 to participate in a season of sport of their choice.
Many children do not have the financial means to participate in sport and the goal of Kidsport Nanaimo is to ensure that children and youth in financial need have access to the positive experience of sport and physical activity. “When we had a legacy from the event, donating to Kidsport Nanaimo was an easy decision,” said City of Nanaimo Manager of Recreation Services, Darcie Osborne.