The risks and rewards of hosting the world juniors tournament amid Hockey Canada scandal


Despite quite a few sponsors pulling out, group leaders in Halifax and Moncton anticipate to generate financial profit from the world junior males’s hockey championship subsequent month — and perhaps even assist Hockey Canada flip the web page on a scandal that has left December’s occasion beneath a darkish cloud.

“I feel that there is a chance to take a look at hockey in a brand new manner and I feel there isn’t any higher place than right here in Maritime Canada,” mentioned Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.

“We have robust hockey traditions, but additionally actually robust actions by the hockey associations to advertise range and to make it possible for folks notice hockey belongs to all of us, not simply to a couple.”

Hockey Canada invited Halifax to bid after the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) pulled the tournament from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Halifax, in a joint bid with Moncton, received the rights to host the occasion in May. 

That was additionally the month when intense stress started mounting on Hockey Canada following revelations it had quietly settled a lawsuit after a lady claimed she was sexually assaulted by eight gamers, together with members of the world junior workforce, following a 2018 gala in London, Ont.

WATCH | What’s at stake for the world junior host cities? 

What’s at stake for world juniors host cities

Despite monetary uncertainties as main sponsors pull out of the world junior hockey championship, officers in Halifax and Moncton are assured they will see an financial enhance from hosting this yr’s tournament.

After a summer season stuffed with disastrous information for the scandal-plagued nationwide sport group Hockey Canada introduced final month that its CEO and board of administrators would step apart.

A lately de-classified report back to Halifax metropolis council reveals a $1 million funding as half of the metropolis’s bid for the world juniors occasion, whereas the province of Nova Scotia has dedicated to spend $2 million.

New Brunswick and Moncton have not shared their particular person commitments but, however their whole involves $2 million.

Canada celebrates after defeating Finland 3-2 in additional time to seize gold at the 2022 IIHF world junior hockey championship in Edmonton in August. The occasion was rescheduled as a result of of COVID-19. The timing, in summer season, plus excessive ticket costs and the rising Hockey Canada scandal resulted in lots of empty seats. Halifax and Moncton anticipate significantly better turnout in December. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Officials assured of financial success

Halifax Coun. Tony Mancini has mentioned the tournament will deliver a $50 million financial enhance to the two cities, with $35 million of it being in Nova Scotia.

Savage does not suppose there is a monetary threat, even with main sponsors comparable to Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, Telus, Sobey’s and Esso pulling out in the wake of the Hockey Canada scandal, and the value of all the pieces going up.

“We’re advised that the threat for us is fairly low,” he mentioned.

The head of Moncton’s Chamber of Commerce is a bit more cautious as a result of of the “uncertainty” over sponsorship {dollars}.

John Wishart says the metropolis will use cash from a neighborhood tourism lodge levy to prepare fan occasions.

“I feel from the native perspective, we have to do the greatest we are able to to separate what’s taking place with Hockey Canada from the product that is going to be on the ice and the expertise when individuals are right here,” he mentioned. 

“We have actually no management over what’s been taking place with Hockey Canada, so I feel we have now to place our greatest face on for the tournament itself, showcase what we’re providing, attempt to inject just a little bit of Maritime flavour into the occasion.”

Isabelle LeBlanc, Moncton’s communications director, mentioned there will likely be financial spin-offs, although she admitted it was an “uncommon yr.” 

The tournament moved from Russia to Canada and the state of affairs with Hockey Canada could have an effect,” she mentioned.

John Wishart, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Moncton, says the enterprise group will do all the pieces it may possibly to make World Junior guests really feel at house and have a good time. (Submitted by John Wishart)

Sponsor pull-outs could have an effect on broadcast rights

Experts additionally say there are some downsides for an occasion that is normally a boon for any Canadian metropolis concerned.

“The world juniors are one of these occasions that needs to be worthwhile for any host metropolis,” mentioned Moshe Lander, an economics professor at Concordia University.

There’s not quite a bit of have to construct new infrastructure — junior hockey-calibre arenas and the capacity to broadcast the video games exist already, he says.

Ticket gross sales are going robust in each cities to date, in distinction with the tournament in Edmonton this summer season when it was rescheduled on account of the pandemic and tickets had been nonetheless obtainable on the eve of the tournament. 

IIHF officers mentioned the excessive value of admission, the tournament’s odd timing and the then-growing Hockey Canada scandal had been in charge for low attendance.

The Halifax/Moncton occasion is again to its traditional time from Boxing Day to early January, a vacation custom for a lot of hockey followers.

A composite image shows logos and signs for Canadian Tire, Telus, Tim Hortons, Esso, Pepsi, Bauer, Sobeys, Scotiabank, Chevrolet, Swiss Chalet and Nike.
Even with main sponsors comparable to Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons, Telus, Sobeys, Bauer and Esso pulling out of the IIHF World Junior championship in the wake of the Hockey Canada sexual assault scandal, officers in Moncton and Halifax, the host cities for the 2022 tournament, imagine the rewards outweigh the risks. (The Canadian Press, The Associated Press, Reuters, Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons)

Though sponsorships are a serious income supply which have diminished, Lander does not suppose the native financial system will undergo.

“They ought to nonetheless discover a option to be worthwhile, however as a substitute of being very worthwhile, it is simply going to be modestly worthwhile,” he mentioned. “Better than Edmonton, however perhaps not what we’re used to seeing from this kind of occasion.” 

However, Lander says there could also be an impression as Hockey Canada might get much less from TSN for the rights to broadcast the video games, since the community counts on huge sponsors to purchase industrial time. there will likely be a trickle-down impact.

Hockey Canada could get much less from TSN for the rights to broadcast the video games. TSN counts on huge sponsors to purchase industrial time.

Concordia University economics professor Moshe Lander says there are some monetary and public relations risks with hosting an occasion in the center of a scandal, however he believes the native communities will finally be OK. (Moshe Lander)

“Commercial instances are nonetheless going to be offered … however it’s simply not going to be the identical aggressive house of Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and Telus competing for that promoting house,” Lander mentioned. 

“It could be like Apple Auto Glass or these smaller corporations, which implies they may get a greater value and TSN does not get as a lot cash.”

Lander mentioned TSN could attempt to renegotiate its rights take care of Hockey Canada. As a outcome, the IIHF could get much less compensation from Hockey Canada for hosting the occasion. 

“It’s most likely Hockey Canada and TSN which might be mixed to eat quite a bit of the losses that come from this. They’re simply going to have to determine who’s answerable for what.”

Some sponsorship cash already redirected

Bauer is one of the corporations that has “paused” its help, that means it’s now not the official tools provider for the males’s nationwide workforce, though Hockey Canada can proceed to buy its tools.

The firm additionally pulled its sponsorship for the IIHF tournaments for each Edmonton in the summer season and Halifax and Moncton this December, mentioned Mary Kay Messier, Bauer’s vice-president of international advertising.

Bauer is redirecting sponsorship {dollars} from the males’s program to girls’s and grassroots applications. 

Zac Bell, proper, is a retired hockey participant and widespread social media influencer who labored with Bauer to shock college students at a faculty in an under-served group in Toronto, one of the grassroots applications Bauer shifted some of its Hockey Canada sponsorship cash to. (Bauer)

As nicely, any income from the males’s hockey tools buy program will go towards the girls’s and para-hockey groups and underrepresented communities, she mentioned.

“I feel everytime you make these choices, there’s all the time some penalties which might be tough to take care of.”

Messier, who’s the sister of former NHL star Mark Messier, mentioned Bauer’s focus is on what’s greatest for the sport and Canadians. That consists of taking a look at the altering demographics of younger hockey gamers and offering tools, applications and alternatives at a grassroots stage.

“This is known as a concentrate on a response to the disaster that is taking place in Canada and the want for change and the want to start to maneuver ahead, enable Canadians to heal and regain confidence in the sport of hockey,” she mentioned.

WATCH | Bauer advertising government on resolution to pause help: 

Bauer is newest Hockey Canada sponsor to drag help

Bauer’s Vice-President of Global Marketing Mary-Kay Messier says Bauer’s assertion right now was the ‘last resort.’ ‘We had been working behind the scenes, assembly with Hockey Canada executives, to strive and align on the modifications wanted … and we weren’t aligned,” mentioned Messier.

News round tourney will concentrate on scandal

International media is normally a very good factor, however Lander mentioned the precise competitors should share headlines with the Hockey Canada scandal surrounding the tournament.

An earlier case allegedly occurred in Halifax. 

Police are investigating after a supply offered names of a minimum of two members of the 2003 world junior hockey workforce who could have appeared in a video of an alleged group sexual assault in Halifax almost 20 years in the past.

“It’s going to be not possible for any nation to not broadcast again to its house nation that Hockey Canada is embroiled in scandal,” Lander mentioned

“And not solely this is what occurred, however it truly occurred right here the place the occasion is at the moment going down. And so, you recognize, the implication for Halifax is, this can be a black eye for the metropolis that is going to be broadcast round the hockey world,” he mentioned. 

“It’s going to be two weeks of repeatedly dangerous press broadcast round the world and it may be actually tough for TSN to strive and take that goal distance and say, ‘Let’s simply concentrate on the hockey, and let’s not concentrate on precisely what occurred in the metropolis a number of years in the past.’ “

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage is assured his metropolis will reap the financial spin-offs of the World Junior hockey tournament subsequent month. (Submitted by Riley Smith)

Savage, Halifax’s mayor, does not suppose that will likely be a problem.

“Rather a lot of the children who will likely be enjoying on this tournament weren’t even alive in 2003,” he mentioned.

“The allegations are in opposition to the hockey gamers, not in opposition to the group. We’ve all the time been an important hosting group. We have an important status for treating folks with respect, ensuring that it is a secure group, and that is actually what we intend to do.”

“We should rectify the errors of the previous and we have now to do higher and I feel that there is a chance to showcase that,” Savage mentioned.

Wishart agrees. The CEO of Moncton’s Chamber of Commerce says the metropolis has a chance to place itself as half of the world juniors reset. 

“And, with Halifax, present that we are able to placed on a tournament safely, that the fan expertise is sweet, that the product on the ice is sweet, and perhaps begin a brand new chapter on this storied historical past of this tournament and what it means to host communities,” he mentioned.


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