Vernon bids for national tourney

Vernon is a hockey town, and now there’s an opportunity to host one of the sport’s coveted national championships.

Vernon is a hockey town, and now there’s an opportunity to host one of the sport’s coveted national championships.

The City of Vernon has endorsed a bid by a group of citizens for the 2014 Royal Bank Cup.

“It will augment Vernon’s reputation as a dynamic community and a hot sports town,” Don Klepp, citizens’ spokesperson, told council Monday.

“We want to provide great hockey for the local fans.”

The tournament features five of Canada’s best junior A teams and draws exposure from across the country.

The event could provide a $3 million boost to Vernon’s economy, with visitors dropping about $1 million in hotels, restaurants and shops.

“It also gives the Vipers another platform for success,” said Klepp of the six-time Canadian champions.

The total cost to run the week-long tournament at Wesbild Centre could range between $500,000 and $575,000.

The next step in the bid process is to try and acquire $10,000 in sponsorship from local businesses.

If that occurs, government funds would be sought prior to deciding if a formal bid package goes to Hockey B.C. by November 2011.

If Hockey B.C. accepts Vernon’s bid, then a package would be submitted to Hockey Canada by January 2012, with a decision likely known next March.

Klepp, who provides analysis on Vipers’ broadcasts, is confident Vernon can be successful.

“I have talked to people at Hockey Canada and they say (Vernon is a) no-brainer,” he said, adding that the city has a strong base of volunteers for events.

On Monday, council unanimously supported the 2014 bid.

The city’s economic development and tourism departments will work with Klepp’s group.

“We can do an awesome job. We have the volunteers and the rink in place,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy.

Vernon last hosted the national championship in 1990 at Civic Arena.

“It brought the whole community together,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol. “It’s long overdue to have it return. This is a community-driven event like no other.”

 

Vernon Morning Star