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Council supports future street hockey tourneys Downtown

A national-level street hockey tournament is one step closer to its goal of hosting a major festival in Downtown Lethbridge.

The Lethbridge PlayOn! Canada event, which would be hosted by the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone (DBRZ), could take place annually in late spring of 2024, 2025 and 2026 at various outdoor locations Downtown.

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to prepare a letter of support and conditionally approve a request for $210,000 of cash and in-kind contributions, with $70,000 ($50,000 in cash and $20,000 in-kind) funded annually in 2024, 2025, and 2026 from the Major Community Event Grant Budget.

This event does not require a bid. City of Lethbridge funding to the DBRZ will be contingent upon PlayOn! Canada receiving its requested Provincial and/or Federal funding.

“This proposed event would lead to significant social and economic benefits not just for Downtown Lethbridge, but for the entire city and region,” says Mayor Blaine Hyggen, who lead a unanimous recommendation at the April 19 Economic Standing Policy Committee meeting. “An event similarly sized to the one in Calgary would result in approximately $700,000 annually in direct community benefit through spending on hotels, travel, food, and shopping. City Council is happy to provide its support to this festival and we hope to see it on our streets beginning next year.”

City Administration has reviewed the PlayOn! proposal and believes it is in alignment with the intent of CC55 Major Community Event Hosting Policy.

“These annual street hockey tournaments would bring social and economic benefits to the city and would provide an opportunity for people of all ages to get involved in the community,” says Logan Bartholow, Project Planning Lead for Opportunity Lethbridge.

The DBRZ has received letters of support from Tourism Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club, the Lethbridge Lodging Association, and the Lethbridge Sport Council. Further engagement and requests for support will be conducted with local and regional minor hockey leagues, local schools and other organizations.

“It is anticipated that this event would see approximately 1,800 unique attendees come into the Downtown core during the festival,” says Emily Chong, Marketing & Communications Manager with the DBRZ. “Not only would this event provide a healthy option for all ages to get involved in the community, but it would also bring activity and vibrancy to the Downtown.”

The DBRZ and/or PlayOn! Canada will assume all risk and responsibility for this event, while insurance for the event will be provided by the DBRZ.

PlayOn! Canada is a not-for profit organization that has coordinated and hosted 179 street hockey tournaments in 39 different communities. More than two million participants, spectators, volunteers, and officials have been involved in these tournaments.

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