Swift Current is joining with Medicine Hat in order to bid for the 2019 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge.
Swift Current City Council passed a motion at their December 4 meeting to proceed with a bid application in conjunction with the Medicine Hat host committee. If successful, the two communities would share the 22 round robin and playoff games in the international tournament which would be held on October 30 to November 9 of 2019.
“We’re excited to be a part of it. We’re very fortunate that Medicine Hat came and said do you want to be a part of this,” said Dean Robson, General Manager of Community Services for the City of Swift Current.
Both Swift Current and Medicine Hat would co-host the 2019 edition of the eight team event which pits five international teams against three Canadian teams (Team Canada Black, Team Canada Red, and Team Canada White). The under 16 players selected to the rosters of the respective teams are among the top young prospects for their countries.
Swift Current previously hosted the Western portion of the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge in 1998, with Kitchener hosting the Eastern championship during the only year the tournament was split into an Eastern and Western event. Canadian representatives won both international events in dual events which both boasted five teams. Team Ontario beat the Czech Republic in the event in Kitchener, while Team Saskatchewan upset a powerful Team USA for the gold medal in Swift Current.
The New Brunswick communities of Saint John and Quispamsis will co-host the 2018 event on November 3 to 10. Hockey Canada is encouraging nearby communities to pursue joint bids as a successful hosting formula.
As part of their bid approval, Swift Current City Council agreed to provide a $75,000 grant to host the event. In addition, in the case of a deficit in hosting the event, the City also agreed they would be responsible for covering any financial shortfall.
Robson noted that accepting the responsibility for covering any deficit is similar to commitments they gave to secure the World Women’s Curling Championship plus the upcoming 2019 Western Canada Summer Games.
“It’s just another encouragement that you’re going to work hard and put everything in place that you can to be successful.”
Robson anticipates there will be ample support behind the bid, as the economic impact from other recent World Under 17 Hockey Challenges have been between $4 million and $6 million to the host communities.
“Right now our our projections are that we’d be probably over $100,000 (profit) when everything was looked after, that’s the estimate as we stand right now.”
The final details of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Medicine Hat and Swift Current committees is currently being established, including an operational plan that details the financial responsibilities of the two sides.
Hockey Canada will be reviewing all shortlisted bid applications, and the 2019 hosts are expected to be announced early in the New Year.