Yellowknifer editorial: Lacing up for Hockey Day in Canada

645

The issue: Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada
We say: Good investment in city’s
image

As the Coronavirus levelled a bodycheck into the city’s tourism sector, with many travellers from Asia forced to stay home, some relief is coming off the bench in the form of a four-day celebration of hockey and culture.

Some tourism operators are reporting up to a 40-per-cent drop in tourists from mainland China, with local hotels, restaurants and other attractions seeing fewer customers.

However, Scotiabank Hockey Day In Canada – which started Wednesday and wraps up tomorrow – should give the local hospitality industry a short-term shot in the arm, while also showcasing all that Yellowknife has to offer.

In addition to the economic benefit coming from visitors for the event itself – including a large contingent of support and technical staff – the city will have a chance to strut its “Extraordinary Yellowknife” brand in two commercial spots during the 12.5-hour broadcast tomorrow, to feature all seven Canadian NHL teams, starting at noon on Sportsnet, Sportsnet One, CBC, and Sportsnet Now. 

The opportunity to provide exposure for the city as a travel destination during breaks in the broadcasts will also be impressive, as there will be an estimated viewership of 9.6 million, or one in four Canadians.

Essentially, this is a day-long infomercial showcasing Yellowknife as a year-round tourist destination to Canadians. Not bad, really, for a direct cost to the City of Yellowknife of $55,000, a cost that could be recouped through sponsorship, ticket sales and merchandise sales.

In documents presented to council, Rogers Sportsnet estimated there will be 253 room nights used for this event, with a benefit for local hotels of between $76,000 and $101,000 in crew rooms alone.

But this event isn’t just about tourism. It also provides some excitement for the region’s minor hockey players. And the city’s renowned legions of volunteers will also be called on again for help.

As 2020 is the 20th anniversary of Hockey Day event – and it is in the NWT for the first time in its history – Yellowknife will realistically be the centre of the hockey world tomorrow.

Ticketed and free events kicked off Wednesday evening with a concert hosted by Ron MacLean, celebrating the “music of hockey day.” 

People in Deline and Norman Wells also got a chance to see the Stanley Cup earlier in the week.

Last night there was a banquet in the St. Patrick High School gym. The guest list includes former Olympic women’s hockey team captain Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Paul Coffey, Wendel Clark and other former NHL players.

The Stanley Cup will be on community visits and hockey clinics have been set throughout the day. Today there’s a pancake breakfast at the Multiplex Gym with the Stanley Cup. At 1:15 p.m. teams from St. Patrick and Sir John Franklin high schools play their annual Challenge Cup game at the Ed Jeske Arena.

Tonight, celebrities and NHL alumni will play at the Ed Jeske Arena. But Saturday is the big day, with free events happening all day at the Somba K’e Civic Plaza starting at 10:30 a.m. The on-air portion of the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada broadcast takes place on Frame Lake, with all the trappings of a winter festival throughout the afternoon.

Now Yellowknife might not have produced many professional hockey players – and we are too remote to be able to support junior-league teams – the city does have historically strong ties to the game.

Yellowknife’s founding gold mines and ice hockey culture were deeply intertwined and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre is taking advantage of Hockey Day in Canada festivities with a modest exhibition recognizing Frank Horvat, a former Giant Mine worker who worked at the mine and who was a leading player on the Giant Mine Grizzlies from 1952 to 1967.

Part of the exhibit will include the rather battered Walter Howe Cup – the ultimate coveted prize among teams and a prized possession at the museum. 

Gold built this town and the people mining it played hockey.

And Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada – use the social media hashtag #HockeyDay – will not only bring hockey fans together, but will shine a light on our city and territory.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here