Cariboo Cougars Set Out to Host the Telus Cup
Prince George, B.C. – The Cariboo Cougars on Saturday opened their 2016-17 BC Major Midget League regular season, a season which will culminate in the team hosting the best in the country during the National Midget Championship next April.
Host committee co-chair Shawn Rice welcomed Prince George-Valemount MLA, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour Shirley Bond and Acting Mayor and counsellor Jillian Merrick to host a ceremonial puck drop before Saturday’s game.
Rice announced the ticket package that is effect up until December 31st “and the ticket price is $59 for a full 19-game pass, including our gold medal game. This equates out to about three dollars a game. Our goal with having that price is we want to get as many people into that arena as possible, we want to make this the best ever and we want families to be able to attend, not just individuals because of the price. We want this to be a family event.”
While not setting an attendance target Rice says “we’re hoping that for the evening games, which are going to be the main games for our host team, that we’re going to be up around 2,000, 2500 per night game.”
The volunteer force is always an important factor in running successful events and Rice says “we’re hoping to have somewhere in the 100 to 150 volunteers. We’re not too worried about volunteers because we know that Prince George is just absolutely amazing when it comes to volunteers and we have a really good pool to pull from when it comes to the Cariboo Cougars, the Spruce Kings as well as the Prince George Cougars. People are passionate about hockey and everything that we have to worry about, that’s the least of my worries because I know people will want to help.”
Shirley Bond says “we’re always proud when the City of Prince George can attract a competition of this high calibre. We know that it brings additional visitors to our city so, certainly as the Tourism Minister, we know that sport tourism is an incredibly important thing in British Columbia so I couldn’t be happier to know that Prince George will host the Telus Cup.”
Bond says she’s “a big supporter of the Cariboo Cougar hockey organization. You know they grow great hockey players and they’re going to do a great job. The fact that we’ll get to watch some of the best hockey players in the country play here in Prince George is great. As a province we’ve already provided a $30,000 Sport Hosting grant for the event and we’re going to continue to find ways to try to support this important event.”
Bond says that could include finding as many financial resources as possible as well as other means in the moths ahead.
Acting Mayor Jillian Merrick says “there’s three big parts to us holding major sporting events: one is the economic development part of it, so all of the tourism revenue and visitor revenue that comes into the community whenever there’s a big sporting event like this; certainly one of the more motivating parts, I think, is the community pride piece where local people in the community really like to rally around these major events and they just love it. They like to come out, show off their community, cheer on their team; and the third piece is just the love of sport and the development of professional sport in the city and to have young athletes know that these types of high-calibre events are here for them to work their way into.”
One final note on the festivities marking the opening of the Cariboo Cougars’ season. It came when Ross Campbell, B.C. Hockey’s Referee Committee member for the North Central region, presented Tyler Garden of Prince George (above right) with Hockey Canada’s “Most Deserving Official” award for his mentorship and supervision of young officials during last winter’s hockey season. Garden is now the Referee-in-Chief of Prince George Minor Hockey