CVRD being asked to consider funding for 2013 World Junior A Hockey Challenge

Atlantic Canada celebrates a goal against Germany during international hockey action at the Cowichan Arena in January of 2009. - Andrew Leong/file
Atlantic Canada celebrates a goal against Germany during international hockey action at the Cowichan Arena in January of 2009.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

South Cowichan Chamber of Commerce executive director Shauna Benson appeared as a delegation at Wednesday’s Cowichan Valley Regional District meeting to make a pitch for funding for the 2013 World Junior A Hockey Challenge.

Benson is proposing the November 2013 tournament be co-hosted at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan and Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria. Kerry Park Arena would be used as a site for scrimmage games and an advance camp to make Canada West team selections.

“It’s kind of like the hidden jewel of the Hockey Canada events that take place,’’ said Benson.

At the CVRD meeting, “we just presented what the event was and the history of the event,’’ she said.

A breakdown was also given of who would house which games and what the expenses and revenues would look like.

“We asked for a letter of support, we asked for $25,000 for the main event and $5,000 for the pre-event at Kerry Park.

“The board said they would come to a decision by their next board meeting.’’

Funding of $50,000 is also being sought from the West Shore region, $50,000 from the provincial government and $25,000 from the federal government for a total of $150,000.

Benson said other community groups and businesses would be sought to come on board to round out the event.

The Under-20 tournament features teams from Canada West, Canada East, the United States and three international teams.

Benson indicated the Cowichan Valley Capitals and Victoria Grizzlies junior A teams, Kerry Park Islanders junior B, B.C. Hockey, SportHost, minor hockey, South Cowichan Chamber, Westshore Chamber and school districts are already in support of the co-hosting concept.

Benson has previous experience with high-level hockey tournaments that prompted her to launch the bid plan.

“Back in 2009, I managed the volunteers for the RBC Cup at Bear Mountain,’’ she said.

Benson realized the tournament was a great economic generator and would be a nice fit for the south end of the valley, Duncan, Langford and Colwood. She assumed the position of South Cowichan Chamber executive director in June.

“What can I bring here that I already have that wouldn’t be too hard to execute,’’ she explained. “I have the contacts already at Hockey Canada.’’

The 2012 tournament is being held in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The 2013 host would normally have been selected by now, but the void remains.

Benson acknowledged she’s under a tight time line, but expected to hear from Hockey Canada Thursday about a firm application deadline.

The World Under 17 tournament was held in Port Alberni in 2009, with some game action taking place in Duncan.

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