Steve Ewen – The Province
“We’re getting asked about ‘What’s next?’ There’s a positive vibe out there. The impact that the RBC Cup has had has us looking at hosting future events.”
Tourism Chilliwack executive director Allison Colthorp says a published study reveals the RBC Cup national Junior A championship tournament — hosted last May by the Chilliwack Chiefs — brought $2.5 million into the local economy.
She suggests it also may have bonded the community like no previous events. She says the tournament attracted 220 volunteers, which is the most she has on record for any such endeavour.
“I think the socioeconomic benefits far surpassed what we were hoping for,” says Colthorp. “We were all coming together for the right reasons. We’re getting asked about ‘What’s next?’ There’s a positive vibe out there.
“The impact that the RBC Cup has had has us looking at hosting future events.”
Chiefs vice-president of business operations Barry Douglas adds: “We were obviously thrilled with how the event transpired both on and off the ice. It was a dream come true for me and everyone in the organization.
“I’m proud of how we all represented Chilliwack. This gave us experience and I’m optimistic about hosting other major events.”
There’s no word yet on what those major events might be.
The five-team, 13-game RBC Cup tournament last season featured the Chiefs, as well as the BCHL champion Wenatchee Wild, the league’s Washington State entry who were representing the Pacific region. Manitoba’s Steinbach Pistons (Western), Ontario’s Wellington Dukes (Central) and Ontario’s Ottawa Junior Senators (Eastern) also took part.
The Chiefs, who were eliminated in the first round of the BCHL playoffs and had to sit idle for several weeks, rallied and won the national title, beating Wellington 4-2 in the final.
CBC reported the 2013 RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I., had an economic impact of “about $2 million,” while the Victoria Times Colonist reported the 2009 RBC Cup had an impact of “more than $2 million.”
The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported earlier this week the Nanaimo Clippers plan to bid on the 2021 RBC Cup. Alberta’s Brooks Bandits are hosting the 2019 tournament from May 11-19.