THE area could play host to a national aboriginal hockey championship tournament in 2017 provided a bid being prepared is successful.
Eight female and eight male teams of players in their mid to late teens from across Canada along with coaches and others would be expected to attend, says Terrace city councillor Brian Downie, a member of a committee which has been exploring the idea of hosting the tournament.
The bantam/midget level National Aboriginal Hockey Championships have been held since 2001 and Downie expects more than 500 people would travel here.
“I think this is an exciting opportunity,” said Downie in comparing the tournament to the hosting here in 2010 of the BC Winter Games, an event which harnessed a huge amount of volunteer participation.
As many as 44 games would be played, taking up approximately 120 hours of hockey at the Terrace Sportsplex’s two rinks over a week-long period.
“It would be a pretty busy place,” said Downie of the sportsplex.
This year’s tournament began April 27 in Halifax and lasts until May 2. The 2013 and 2014 tournaments were held in Kahnawake, Quebec.
The local committee, which includes Kitselas and Kitsumkalum, the Kermode Friendship Centre, the Kermode Tourism Society and the Terrace Minor Hockey Association, has until April 29 to submit a letter of intent which would then be followed by a comprehensive bid package.
“It’s quite an involved bid process,” Downie noted of the package which would first be evaluated along with other bids in B.C. The successful one would then being sent to a national selection body.
The addition of three hotels now under construction and an airport served by three airlines contribute to the area’s amenities, he said.
Downie will seek the official blessing of the city at the April 27 city council meeting.
The National Aboriginal Hockey Championships were founded by a national organization called the Aboriginal Sport Circle and sanctioned by Hockey Canada, the national organizing body for hockey in Canada.