Sports

CARHA Hockey World Cup postponed again

By Angel St. George

Published 11:49 PST, Fri February 4, 2022

Last Updated: 12:54 PST, Tue February 15, 2022

Richmond was selected as the host city for the 2020 CARHA Hockey World Cup, but the event was postponed by the organization due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Established in 1975, CARHA Hockey is Canada’s leading not-for-profit organization that provides resources tailored to the needs of individual leagues, tournaments, and referee associations. Its roles include helping leagues get ice contracts, medical insurance, team websites, standings, statistics and prizes. 

Laurie Langois, CARHA’s manager for new business and community engagement, says players are not just numbers—they’re members. It is important for the organization to be involved in growing the community in a positive way, which it does by keeping the focus on hockey and showing the benefits of what it can do for communities across the nation.

CARHA’s most prominent event is the Hockey World Cup, which is the largest adult recreational hockey tournament in the world. It attracts participants from across Canada, the United States, Asia, and Europe. Every four years, over 140 teams from 15-plus countries travel to the host city for the week-long event.

The event was postponed to 2021, then to 2022, and now to 2023.

“Because we’ve had to postpone, there were a lot of hard costs that were not recoverable,” explains CARHA executive director Lori Lopez. “For example, we had office space, merchandise that was already branded and ready to go, we had signage, we had done all of our team recruitment. Back in 2020, we had over 145 teams registered for the event, supported (by) 15 different countries.”

At the end of 2021, CARHA got $250,000 from the province’s Fairs, Festivals, and Events Recovery Fund. The fund provides one-time grants for up to 20 per cent of the total budget for an event. 

“With that funding we can recover some of what we’ve lost, but also be able to go out with a strong marketing plan and hopefully recruit back up to 145 teams,” says Lopez. “That equates to about 3,000 people coming into the community. In terms of economic benefit, there is an anticipated 12 million dollars coming into the community, so there’s a significant ripple effect from that stimulus. The funding is a life-saver for us because (otherwise) we wouldn’t have been able to deliver the same level of event that we’ve been known to do since 1996.”

Lopez is also grateful for the help of local sponsors including Stanley’s Grill, Lulu Island Winery, Molson Canadian and River Rock Casino.

“All of these local businesses have supported the event and we’re really excited to bring participants and have them experience the businesses firsthand,” says Lopez.

The event also aims to revitalize tourism in Richmond and provide an influx of support for local businesses that have been impacted by lockdowns. 

“The Richmond Olympic Oval is a venue like no other that we’ve seen and our participants will be very excited to play in an Olympic facility,” says Lopez. “Our feature game is a televised event and that will be played at Minoru (Arena). It really is a community-supported event because in the end it’s about camaraderie, sharing, and experiencing what Richmond has to offer.”

Through the event, CARHA makes charitable donations to the host city and in collaboration with local schools, elementary students will have the opportunity to “adopt a team.”

“We provide the opportunity for classes to pick a country and pick a team, learn about their culture and their traditions, and then create signage and come out to the rinks with face paint. (This will) really make (players) feel like super stars while providing (students) a learning pillar for them to use in their curriculum.”

CARHA is also encouraging people to use outdoor rinks with their new outdoor rink  campaign. 

People can submit a picture with a short written sentiment about their outdoor rink and be placed in the running to win $1,000 towards next season’s outdoor rink. Because many outdoor rinks are operated by volunteers or volunteer committees, you can nominate a person or a committee and express what they mean to you.

The Richmond Sentinel is the CARHA Hockey World Cup’s official media sponsor. The rescheduled dates are March 19 to 26, 2023.

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