Lanny McDonald coaches young hockey players in Orillia during a Hockey Day in Canada event in 2018.
The City of Yellowknife is lining up to host Hockey Day in Canada in 2020.
The city was approached in late 2018 about hosting the week-long celebration of hockey in February 2020 — including a live TV broadcast which reached nearly 10 million Canadians this year.
Rogers considers Yellowknife “the ideal location” for 2020 according to a briefing note prepared for city councillors. A Western Hockey League game could come to Yellowknife as part of the deal.
On Monday, councillors will consider the proposal. Later, they’ll vote on whether to endorse a plan for the event drawn up by staff at City Hall.
Hockey Day in Canada comes at an estimated cost to the City of $55,000, while Rogers and event sponsor Scotiabank would each contribute up to $500,000.
Running from February 4-8, 2020, Hockey Day in Canada would bring arts and crafts displays, hockey players, a music concert, coaching clinics, referee clinics, a range of hockey games, and the star attraction — a game featuring NHL alumni — to Yellowknife.
“A 13-hour national broadcast will increase destination awareness and raise market awareness of Yellowknife,” the briefing note tells councillors.
“This day-long Yellowknife commercial is the greatest benefit of hosting the Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada event and will showcase Yellowknife as a year-round tourist destination to Canadians.
“The commitment of the partners is easily demonstrated by their willingness to support the event with $300,000 to $500,000 each, and all the time they have already put into scouting our location.”
According to the City, costs covered by Scotiabank and Rogers Sportsnet include travel costs for staff working on the show, funding for a Music of Hockey event, and the costs of former NHL players plus the likes of broadcasters Ron MacLean and Don Cherry.
In addition, many of the events during the week are free to attend: school visits, hockey games, an arts and crafts show, and unspecified “outdoor activities.”
“There have been preliminary discussions with Rogers Sportsnet and the Western Hockey League on the possibility of hosting a Western Hockey League game as part of the overall event,” the briefing note suggests.
For its part, the City will need to establish a host committee to organize things, and find around 250 volunteers to help out.
Many of those could come from Yellowknife Minor Hockey, which, the City said, has already been consulted.
“Comments were all positive and they began discussing how they could work their schedule around the event so we get the maximum participation and exposure to the events for children,” reads the briefing note.