BY MICHAEL JOEL-HANSEN
The town of Gull Lake is aiming to be the host community for Cameco Hockey Day in Saskatchewan in 2019. The event is one which is awarded to a different community every year by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA). Tracey Stenson is the co-chair of the local organizing committee in Gull Lake. She explained the town made the decision to try to get the event after the SHA put out a call for bids for communities located in zone three, which covers the southwest.
“We decided we wanted to do this and try for this, so that’s how it came about,” Stenson said.The community’s motivation to bid to host the event is in large part driven by the town rink being in need of some significant work including repairs to the roof, which are expected to top $200,000. Along with the work needed on the roof the arena, which was originally built in 1985, it also requires work done to upgrade the dressing rooms. Some of the flooring needs to be redone, and the facility is in need of a new paint job.”We’re looking at just over $400,000,” said Stenson.
Hosting Hockey Day in Saskatchewan could provide an excellent opportunity to raise some of the money needed for the upgrades and repairs as the community has the ability to raise money from sponsorships and a variety of other festivities which come with hosting the event, like a raffle and banquet. In past years host communities have been able to raise decent sized amounts of money. Balcarres, which is located east of Regina raised $67,000 when they hosted hockey day this year. When Shellbrook, which is north of Saskatoon hosted in 2017, they enjoyed a great deal of success raising a total of $175,000 for their rink.Stenson said if they are chosen, Gull Lake is hoping to raise a minimum of $70,000.
“I don’t think we’ll hit $400,000,” she said laughing.
Stenson added having the chance to host an event like Hockey Day in Saskatchewan is a great opportunity for a community like Gull Lake as there are a great deal of expenses incurred as a result of running the arena.
“There always seems to be these big things,” she said.
So far the seven-member organizing committee has been working with the entire community to put together and organize a plan for how they would carry out and execute the event. The committee has not incurred any major expenses in putting together its bid, with the only cost being a video they had put together by The Landing Studio, which is based out of Swift Current. The video, which can be viewed on the town’s website, features three different people from Gull Lake talking about what the rink means to the town and community and touches on the history of the building too.
“Whether we get the bid or not, we’re happy we had it (the video) done,” Stenson said.
Stenson explained in planning things out the committee aimed to make it a true event for the entire community.
“(We) don’t want it to be just one group,” she said.
If Gull Lake is successful in their bid, the festivities are planned to go on over the course of one week. Stenson said the committee has made sure the events scheduled for that time are different.
“(They’re) not just hockey events,” she said.
The SHA is expected to announce the winning community later this month on the weekend of April 21-22 when the board of directors is scheduled to meet.