Hockey Day in Canada could be coming to Yellowknife February 5th to 8th, 2020.
Cityy councillors are supportive of hosting the event in Yellowknife they said Monday, as long as concerns about aurora tourism and costs to the city are addressed.
The event broadcasts live from the host community to 9.6 million viewers – one in every four Canadians. “In between all those hockey games will be basically one big, long Yellowknife commercial,” says Johanna Elliot, city facilities manager.
The ‘commercial’ would involve two commercial spots for the city to do what they want with, as well as footage gathered by Rogers and Sportsnet showing the city’s history, different seasons and contemporary life. The two commercial spots are worth about $15,000 says Elliot.
The ‘day’ is spread out across four days, which Elliott says are packed with a music night, hockey games and clinics involving community groups and students, as well as visits to schools and seniors’ facilities. City administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett says collaborations with Indigenous governments including the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and Dene Nation are possible, as well as a strong presence of the arts.
Councillor Shauna Morgan asked about costs to the city and staff time. The cost to the city would be $55,000 over two years, which city administrator Sheila Bassi-Kellett could be recouped through ticket sales, sponsorships and merchandise sales. An estimated 1,200 hours of staff time will also be used, equal to a full week of work for 30 staff.
Councillors Rommel Silverio and Niels Konge stressed the need to ensure there are enough accommodations for event participants and other tourists during peak aurora viewing season. “This is one of the high demand times for aurora viewing, where in Yellowknife we typically have no occupancy. So for local operators to lose 60 rooms that would have a negative effect on their operations,” Konge says. He asked the city to connect with local tourism operators to minimize this impact.
The event would use 253 room nights, Elliot says, which the city has tentatively booked. The number of rooms used at one time would be nine to 60, Mayor Rebecca Alty clarified.
Plans for hosting the event will be brought up at council Monday, April 8th.