Photo by Chung Chow
The countdown has officially begun.
In less than a year—March 29, 2020 to be exact—Richmond will again be in the international spotlight as hosts of the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup.
Since hosting the long track speed skating events during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games at the Richmond Olympic Oval, the city has gained a well-earned reputation for hosting outstanding sporting events. Excitement is already building in the local community for the CARHA World Cup March 29 to April 5 next year.
“We are so excited…as (the tournament) is recognized as the premier adult adult recreational hockey event worldwide,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “With a great host team, experienced volunteers, outstanding venues and the many excellent attractions and services in Richmond, we’re confident the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup will be the best yet.”
CARHA tournament manager Lucy Peeling said they’re thrilled to bring the event to such a passionate, vibrant and multi-cultural city, showcasing the very best Canada has to offer to hockey players from around the world.
“The response from teams has been tremendous and team registration has been virtually sold out since 2018,” she said. “We can’t wait for all of our participants to experience the same welcome that our organization has received from the community.”
The Richmond event is expected to feature some 140 teams from 15 countries and generate up to $15 million into the local economy.
Since 1996, the number of European teams participating has increased to where 60 per cent of tournament registrants are from outside North America.
Held every four years, the tournament is based on the Olympic model. Adult recreation players from age 19 to 70 are eligible to participate.
The majority of games will be held at the Oval and Richmond Ice Centre, with Minoru Arenas also hosting several major games.
There will be no admission fee to games, which organizers hope the community as a whole will strongly embrace.
Local minor hockey associations (Ravens, Jets and Sockeyes) have already stepped forward to show their support.
“I’m looking for it,” says local businessman Doug Paterson, part-owner of the Richmond Sockeyes Junior Hockey Club which will be front-and-centre. “It’s going to be great for the community and it’s important Richmondites help out and support it where they can.”
The international tournament concept is close to Paterson’s heart.
“I’ve played in a number of tournaments and they’re great,” he says. “The camaraderie and meeting people from different parts of the world is special. The L.A. Kings had a team in one of the tournaments I was in. It doesn’t get any better.”
Pam Lacroix, manager of Richmond Sport Hosting, says CARHA’s site visit to Richmond last year convinced the organization this was the place to host the 2020 World Cup.
“Our bid package was impressive, but the vibe they got from the moment they stepped off the plane I think won it,” she says. “Everybody wanted this event to come to our city and I think (CARHA World Cup) organizers saw and felt that.”