City Council has taken the first step in attracting the 2022 Can-Am Police-Fire Games to Lethbridge. From the Major Community Event Hosting Grant, Council approved $20,000 for preparing a bid presentation as well as a letter of support to the Can-Am Police-Fire Games Federation. Up to $180,000 was also approved from the same grant for hosting the event, should the bid be successful.
It's estimated this seven day event would attract 1,400 out-of-town participants/spectators generating more than $2.5 million in economic activity for the city.
"These games would be an excellent boost for sport tourism in Lethbridge," says Mayor Chris Spearman. "We've demonstrated with events like the World Women's Curling championship and more recently, Skate Canada International that we have the facilities and the community spirit to be great hosts."
The mission of the Can-Am Police-Fire Games is to promote physical fitness and camaraderie among and between law enforcement, fire, emergency and protective service personnel and their agencies. The games consist of 22 compulsory sports and ten optional sports as well as opening ceremonies. Participants come from both Canada and the US and all events are free for the public to watch.
The Can-Am Police-Fire Games happen every two years and are coordinated through the Can-Am Police-Fire Games Federation. The Games started as the Northwest Police-Fire Games in 1977 between Washington, Oregon and Western Canada. In 1996 the Games evolved to the Can-Am Fire-Police Games to better represent the demographics of the participants. The next Can-Am Police-Fire Games will be held in June, 2018 in The Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.
"Having the games here in Lethbridge would give more opportunity for our local Police, Fire and Emergency Services staff to participate," says Fire Chief, Richard Hildebrand. "We have some amazing athletes and bringing them together at an event like this is great for team-building and community spirit."
At last year's event in Thunder Bay, Ont., the Lethbridge Police Service had three games medalists. Constable Realini took gold and silver in the Police Action Pistol event and Police Pistol Combat Duty and Constable Freda and Constable Brunning took home gold in Toughest Competitor Alive for their respective age and weight classes.
Lethbridge's games bid will be submitted by early April. If shortlisted, a site visit would happen before September and the final bid presentation would be set for November, 2017.
Gerald Gauthier, Communications Consultant