Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee
has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from
across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well
as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver
The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host
committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the
benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.
This time, HockeyCanada.ca sat down with Thomas Soulliere, director of
parks, recreation and facilities with the City of Victoria.
Q: Why is it important for you to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World
TS: This tournament is probably one of the best fits for a city of this
size. We’re a large sports community here on the West Coast and a great
partnership with the larger city across the water, but this town is
tailor-made in terms of the size of the facility that we have, and the
excitement that we have around welcoming tourists and visitors from all
over the world on an annual basis. To be able to host this type of event,
where we’ll get those international visitors at a different time of the
year to watch a tournament that is pretty close to our hearts here, we’ve
got a great hockey loving community here in Victoria.
Q: Why is Victoria the right city to co-host the World Juniors?
TS: The focus that the city has on being exposed to international visitors,
and welcoming visitors and new residents from all over the place, this
event fits nicely with that larger context, but also the fact that this is
a sporting event that is highly regarded in the country, in the province
and certainly in this area as well.
Q: What excites you most about bringing the World Juniors to Victoria?
TS: One of the things that has come through, even in the bid process, was
the strong community support that we’ve seen. Our proposal included the
business community, the tourism association and a wide range of business
organizations and not-for-profits, and city council was extremely excited
about it. It’s a great opportunity to bring all of those entities together
and focus on working together and hosting something that’s really going to
provide a wide range of benefits, both in terms of the excitement and
energy in the city at that time of year, the inspiration it’s going to
provide to people of all ages, but also the economic benefits that come
along with hosting this type of event.
Q: How does the City of Victoria plan on capitalizing on the World
TS: We’ve been working with our partners in the downtown
business association as well as Tourism Victoria, and trying to collaborate
with our colleagues in Vancouver to maximize opportunities around existing
events to generate excitement and promote the tournament. We’re also
working with our partners at B.C. Hockey to provide more exposure to
individuals that haven’t tried playing hockey or are interested in joining
a hockey league or being exposed to hockey. And then the overall health and
wellness benefits that sports provide, we’re looking to use this event to
help promote that as well.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?
TS: It’s a great opportunity to get a variety of stakeholders together
working collaboratively to share expertise and knowledge to be the best
possible hosts that we can, and to make this the most successful IIHF World
Junior Championship ever, I think that’s the goal. To learn from each other
and build on this for future opportunities is what I’m most excited about.