By Joshua Estabrooks
Since Invermere was officially selected to be a host site for the 2012 B.C. Pond Hockey Series, taking place February 3rd-5th on Lake Windermere, the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce has been hard at work brainstorming ideas to make the event memorable for visitors and residents alike.
Executive Director of the chamber, Susan Smith, said that Invermere winning the bid means a much-needed event in the middle of winter is on its way to the valley. In order to maximize the potential benefits of the event, she is encouraging anyone with ideas about what the community can do to come forward and contact her. The more ideas the better, she said.
“We are starting a tradition, so it is really, really important that we are doing it right. We have been brainstorming ideas like a community passport that would include some discount coupons to our local retailers, but we don’t want the benefits to just be for Invermere. We want people to come up and down the whole valley. This is an opportunity to include everyone from Canal Flats to Edgewater.”
Ms. Smith said that although the event is focused on hockey, it doesn’t mean all of the businesses need to go gaga for the sport. It is a major event occurring where there wasn’t one before, so it’s more a matter of capturing the attention of attendees and encouraging them to come back in the summer, winter, or stay all year round.
“We want to show people that we know how to have a good time,” Ms. Smith said. “It’s going to take all hands on deck to do this, not just a small group of people who like hockey. We think this is a great opportunity to grow and establish Lake Windermere as a perfect place to recreate in the winter as well as the summer.”
John Reed, of Adventure Architects, the company that organizes the Pond Hockey Series, echoed Ms. Smith’s thoughts, agreeing that the event is the main draw, but the peripheral opportunities for local businesses is a major factor as well.
“We’re looking to collectively put our best foot forward and really showcase the area beyond pond hockey. We want to put some heads in beds and some bums in seats for everybody in the valley. That’s really what it is all about,” Mr. Reed said.
Currently, Adventure Architects are starting to make contact with major media outlets in Calgary and other cities, Mr. Reed said. They are also putting together sponsorship packages for large and small businesses that want to get on board and help the tournament in whatever way they can. Registration for players will begin after the September long weekend.
Ideas and suggestions can be sent to email@example.com. Sponsorship packages are also available through the Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce.