Despite Canada playing the majority of their games at the world junior hockey championships in Vancouver, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre says the tournament was still a win for the City of Victoria.
After the event wrapped up in Victoria on Wednesday, co-host GSL Group (operator of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre) said the more than 90,000 hockey fans that came through its doors during the tournament had a big economic impact – up to $10 million locally.
The 17-day event saw hockey fans consume more than 40,000 hot dogs, 70,000 beers and 500,000 ounces of popcorn. GSL group estimates it answered more than 14,000 questions about the City of Victoria.
“The world juniors was another successful event for our venue and for the people of Victoria,” said Dave Dakers, GSL sports and entertainment president.
“When GSL Group originally thought about developing and operating a multi-purpose arena in Victoria, we knew that the presence of a first-class building in a world-class city … would provide the city the opportunity to host events of this magnitude,” said GSL Group President and CEO Graham Lee.
Keith Wells, Tourism Victoria’s executive director of sport tourism, said the championships proved the city is capable of hosting large scale sporting events.
“It’s been more than 10 years since we’ve had major games of any kind here at all in Victoria,” he said. “Getting our legs under us that way and getting that network in place is really, really important for the things we’re going to do in the years coming.
“We can host an event like this and do a really good job and welcome the world and that’s something we can leverage moving forward,” he added. “It’s just a real benefit to the region to be able to enjoy being part of something international like this and celebrating it with the rest of Canada…”
During its 13-year presence in Victoria, the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre has hosted a number of international events including the World Curling Championships, World Figure Skating Championships, Canada and USA women’s hockey and more.
The City has plans to bid on other large sporting events such as the Invictus Games and the 2023 Memorial Cup.