1. How are preparations coming along for the 2009 IIHF World
The planning and organizing for the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship is right on track. We hit the ground running shortly after Ottawa was awarded the championship in May 2006, kicking off our initial sponsorship and ticket sales campaigns. Recently, we added two new staff members to our team as Valerie Kowal was named manager of events & services and Jean Vaillancourt joined us as manager of operations. With our current staff and volunteer infrastructure in place and fully operational, we are well positioned to continue to put into place plans that will ensure the delivery of a ‘best ever’ event.
2. How are sponsorship and ticket sales?
Our Marketing and Sales team has been very busy since the summer of 2006. On the sponsorship side, we have achieved $4.3 million in sales or 86% of our $5.0 million target with 14 months to go to the event. We have already surpassed the $3.0 million record that was set at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. Ticket sales have just passed the 10,000-ticket-package mark. This represents 63% of our 16,000-ticket-package target. We will be opening up ticket sales to the general public on . I would advise everyone that hasn’t purchased a ticket package to the 2009 World Juniors to act quickly once the public on-sale campaign begins as the scarcity of tickets is becoming more and more noticeable.
3. How excited is the City of Ottawa to host the championship?
All of Ottawa and the Capital Region are at the ready to host the world and to stage an exceptional IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship. Our performance to-date in the area of sponsorship and ticket sales clearly indicates that the corporate community and the general public are very excited to be part of the largest sporting event ever to come the nation’s capital. The Ottawa District Hockey Association is also a key supporter, representing the grass roots of hockey in our area with over 40,000 participants and another 9,000 coaches and volunteers. The 2009 World Juniors will engage all of the region’s hockey participants and fans like no other event ever held in Eastern Ontario/Western Québec. Ottawa has been host to many great sporting events and, in particular, great hockey events, but has never had the opportunity to host a IIHF World Junior Championship. Nowhere is the love of the game of hockey more evident than right here in Canada’s capital city.
4. How big a role will volunteers play in the success of the event?
The key to the planning, organizing and staging of a successful 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship is a strong, large and committed volunteer base. In order for our host organizing committee to deliver a ‘best ever’ event, we have to ensure that we reach out and fully engage the community in our volunteer management program. To stage an international event of the magnitude of the 2009 WJC, the host organizing committee estimates it will be required to recruit, train, support and direct the efforts of approximately 1,500 volunteers from the community. Therefore, the host organizing committee will place a high priority on supporting the efforts of its volunteers. As a legacy, the feelings of accomplishment and enjoyment from volunteer achievements and new friendships will undoubtedly add to the social fabric of the Ottawa area.
5. What will set the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship apart from past World Juniors held in Canada?
The mission of our host organizing committee is to create and deliver an unparalleled and unprecedented hockey experience for Hockey Canada and its partners, the IIHF and all of the participants, visitors and attendees of the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship. In order to achieve our mission, we have created a vision of “31 Games, 10 Teams, 1 City”. Teams, media, VIPs, sponsors, family, fans and guests will check into their hotel at the start of the event and will play their games, practice, be entertained and savour the Canadian hockey experience in one city, Ottawa. As a result, hospitality, media coverage, networking, fan services and the overall event impact will all be significantly magnified.
6. You will be traveling to the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championship this December and January in the Czech Republic. What will you learn from their host committee and how their event is run?
Both Jean Vaillancourt, our manager of operations, and I will be traveling to the Czech Republic this December to observe first-hand how the 2008 WJC host organizing committee has planned and implemented their vision to create a memorable event. We will be looking at all the key operational areas that are consistent from one IIHF World Junior Championship event to the next and also begin the process of networking with all the key stakeholder groups that will be part of our 2009 World Juniors.