After hosting the Telus and Esso Cups last year, the Okotoks Oilers are looking to bring more events to town.
At the January 23 Okotoks town council meeting, they requested support from council in bidding for the 2023 AJHL Showcase and the National Junior 'A' Championship (NJAC) in 2024 or 2025.
Tyler King (Assistant General Manager, Business Operations), who made the presentation for council, said the NJAC bid was the bigger of the two bids.
The event would bring nine top teams from across Canada, with coverage from TSN for the final game.
For the bid, the Oilers requested to waive facility costs for the event, and for a $25,000 sponsorship from the town to be used over the course of about three years.
King said the economic benefits of hosting an NJAC have been demonstrated by past hosts.
"To go back to the last time a real formal economic impact study was done of this event, it would have been back in 2019 when a five-team tournament was held in Chilliwack B.C., and the local economic impact on a STEAM assessment was estimated to be in about two $2.5 million, that range."
He noted that the size tournament has doubled in recent years.
While waiving facility fees isn't unusual for the town, the $25,000 sponsorship would be a first for Okotoks and the Oilers. King pointed out during the meeting that that kind of sponsorship is common in other municipalities, and larger sponsorships had been granted in host cities Estevan and Brooks.
The other event is the 2023 AJHL Showcase.
It would see all 16 AJHL teams coming to town to compete in two games each over the course of four days in September.
King said it would bring attention from media and NHL scouts, would only require the Centennial's Green Arena, and would boost Okotoks' reputation as a host town.
The Oilers requested the town waive both meeting room costs and ice costs to make the bid more attractive to the league.
Council discussed several motions, including a smaller sponsorship, and ended up voting in favour of supporting both bids, but only waiving the fees for the NJAC.
The fees would've totalled $56,927.29, and covered ice rentals for both rinks for the event, meeting room costs, and GST.
They voted against the sponsorship.