Despite support from local businesses, various community organizations, Salmon Arm council and hockey enthusiasts, Salmon Arm’s bid to host the Junior A Hockey Championships in 2021 has fallen short.
The process of creating the bid began in February 2019. By the following month, the newly formed Shuswap Sports Society presented plans to submit a bid to Salmon Arm council, which gave the bid their unanimous support. If successful in securing the 10-day event, visitor spending and extensive media coverage was projected to generate more than $2 million for the Shuswap.
Out of eight other communities that submitted their bids to host the event, Salmon Arm made it to the top three, which qualified Shuswap Sports Society to present their bid to Hockey Canada in Calgary in mid-May.
“I thought we were the best represented community out of the final three that actually got to present,” said Ian Gray, chairperson for the Shuswap Sports Society. “Nobody else had a mayor there which I think really spoke loudly to the city commitment.”
While the Shuswap Sports Society does not plan on making another bid, Gray believes there is hope for another Salmon Arm organization to make a bid to host the championships in 2023 or 2024.
The 127-page bid included $500,000 put forward by businesses and local groups.
Salmon Arm Mayor Alan Harrison said he didn’t think there was anything more that could have been put into the bid.
“Our facility is a perfect size for a Junior A hockey championship and of course our location, you can’t beat it,” he said. “I would say perhaps that the timing perhaps just wasn’t quite right from Hockey Canada’s perspective to come this way this time.”
Harrison said he believes that if and when Hockey Canada looks to host the championships again in B.C., Salmon Arm would be high on their radar as a potential host.
Hockey Canada has not released the official winner of the bid yet.