Bantam tournament to pack Smithers

The Mar 12-16 event will have admission by donation, raffles and will bring over 400 people to town.

The Bantam provincials schedule

Prepare to meet people from all over British Columbia next week.

Smithers Minor Hockey President Suzanne Rourke expects over 400 people to come to the Bantam championships, who could spend around $350,000 in hotels, food and shopping.

“The hotels are probably pretty full, I know we don’t have any space,” said Colin Bateman, manager of the Aspen Inn.

The Civic Centre will host eight B.C. teams and one Whitehorse team, who will play 20 games starting this Sunday to next Wednesday, and admission is by donation.

“That’s a generous stand on our part,” said Rourke. “We wanted to … have the doors open and have the capacity there for anyone in the community to attend.”

The event will feature raffles of items, and a draw with a $9,999 prize.

“The raffles are a way of us to offset the cost of the event, which can be up to  $25,000-$30,000,” she said.

Costs include rental of the rink, and hiring impartial referees from out of town.

The final schedule will be accessible on the SMHA website and Facebook page.

The SMHA is also looking for volunteers to help film the matches. They need 10 volunteers.

The championship is put together by the Bantam Hosting Committee, which includes Rourke, co-chair Darcie Frocklage and other volunteers.