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Kamloops News

BEPPLE: Kamloops truly is the Tournament Capital

Image Credit: Compilation/Jennifer Stahn
April 01, 2016 - 9:35 AM

The IIHF Women’s World Championships hosted by Kamloops aren’t even over yet, and it’s clear the event is a huge success. From the opening exhibition matches, which went off flawlessly, to the huge crowds game after game, it’s clear the event is hitting and exceeding the mark.

It is one thing to call oneself ‘Tournament Capital of Canada’. It’s another to deliver. Kamloops delivers.

Work for this week’s event started years ago, with the successful bid for the 2014 Four Nations Cup featuring the Canadian, U.S., Finnish and Swedish national female hockey teams. The success of that event gave the IIHF confidence to award the 2016 World Championships to Kamloops.

Past cities which have hosted the Women’s Worlds include Ottawa, Halifax, Winnipeg and Mississauga, as well as Zurich and Lake Placid. It says a lot about Kamloops, when a city of 90,000 can host a top international event and do as good or better of a job as these other far larger cities.

Huge congratulations go to the Kamloops organizing committee for the 2016 worlds, headed by Jon Pankuch and Norm Daley. They, and much of the committee also worked on the 4 Nations Cup as well. The general manager of the event Riley Wiwchar, brought his previous experience with Hockey Canada and IIHF World Championship events in Calgary and Montreal. The organizing team had the experience to succeed. And the hard work and dedication to make it happen. They put together a great team of paid staff and a huge group of volunteers.

The volunteers are everywhere for the 2016 Worlds. I am always amazed at the number of people who put their heart and soul into events in Kamloops. Just when it seems Kamloops has maxed out on volunteering, more people show up. That was evident this week when the provincial girls hockey championships were being hosted at the same time. And that’s on top of all the other volunteering people do on a regular basis.

The Sandman Centre and McArthur Island arenas look amazing right now, decked out in the IIHF colours. The City of Kamloops staff has done a great job in getting the facilities ready on time and fixing problems as they come up.

Kamloops is the Tournament Capital of Canada, because from the smallest event to the largest international championship, people come forward to make it happen. At the same time, the city has invested in amazing recreational facilities and has the staff in place.

I was quite puzzled by the comments by Coun. Tina Lange that the City of Kamloops Tournament Capital brand could be harmed by the proposed KGHM mine. If that were the case, then in all likelihood the current Domtar mill would be hurting the brand as well. But I’ve been to countless events at McArthur Island, in direct site of the mill, and spoken to many people coming to Kamloops. All of them raved about the facilities of the city, and how well the events were put on. None of them mentioned the mill. The Tournament Capital brand is there because of the volunteers who put the time in to make tournaments happen.

There will be legacy from the women’s worlds. More kids will want to play hockey, more women will tie up their skates again and volunteers will be in place to take on the next big tournament, whatever it is.

And the Tournament Capital brand will be further solidified.

Great job on the worlds Kamloops!

— Nancy Bepple is a recovering politician and local news junkie. She expects she will never recover from her love of the banjo.

News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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