As much as thousands of area hockey fans enjoyed the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins last fall, the enjoyment of hockey will continue even more thanks to the financial legacy from that event.The organizing committee for the event says it has realized a profit of roughly a quarter of a million dollars and all that money will be pushed back into minor hockey and associated sports programs.
“It looks like we're going to be in the area of a quarter of a million dollars profit. So that's fantastic for the City of Timmins,” said tournament chair Kris Kullas.
“It shows that we can do it. And not just this event, but there are other events that could be coming up whether it be hockey or baseball or whatever. We have a volunteer base. We have the people that can do this and we have the fans and the corporate support to make it possible.”
The proceeds will be disbursed as follows:
Timmins Minor Hockey Association, Schumacher Minor Hockey Association, the Porcupine Minor Hockey Association, Timmins Majors AAA Midget Hockey Club and Timmins Liberty Eagles AAA Bantam Hockey Club have each received a cheque for $26,140.
The Northern Ontario Hockey Association (NOHA) has been given $30,000.
The Day Star Hockey Initiation program in Timmins will receive $2,000.
The Timmins Police Pipes and Drums band has been given $1,000.
KidSport has been given $500.
The Golden Manor has been given 800 towels.
The City of Timmins Leisure Services department has been given the High Definition video camera and tripod that was used to record the hockey games.
Also, roughly $100,000 has been set aside to pay for modifications to the McIntyre Arena, such as the elevated media platform located on the east side of the arena.
The official report also stated “The host committee also decided to help offset the additional cost incurred by the City of Timmins for McIntyre Arena overtime and part time staffing expenses. The host committee also paid the City of Timmins for all ice time used at both the McIntyre and Archie Dillon Sportsplex Arenas. The 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge became a 100 per cent self-supporting event."
Kullas this week said he was more than pleased at the fact that the tournament made a profit. He said there were many times during the planning phase over the past two years that he feared it would be a loss. Kullas gives credit to the local fans and the sponsors.
Hockey Canada representative Ed Pupich, another member of the host committee, said the success of the Timmins event surprised a lot of people, especially in other cities where the event has been held.
Pupich said he has been involved in under-17 tournaments since the early 1990s and has found that in small communities the tournament seems to do better “because it's the only game in town” and smaller communities tend to appreciate and support such events more than those living in larger cities.
“When you get into a larger community that already has junior hockey and so on, you're not going to get the fan base,” he said.
“I've always said the smaller the community the better the outcome will be,” he added.
The next community to host the tournament will be Winnipeg. Pupich says he expects that city will do well financially, but he says Timmins has set the bar exceedingly high for any other community in Canada to host the tournament.
“We are extremely pleased from Hockey Canada's viewpoint with the money that was made in Timmins and we are very pleased it's going back to minor hockey. That's the most important thing,” he said.
Pupich said one important factor is that Timmins has a solid volunteer base. He added that the success of the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge would have future benefits for other organizations planning national tournaments, regardless of the sport. Pupich said Timmins has proved itself twice now as a capable host city.
Pupich also remarked that the tournament doesn't mean that local minor hockey teams will suddenly all be wearing fancy new team jackets. He said Hockey Canada follows up to ensure that the money is spent on things such as training, ice time and player and coaching development.