Smithers will be Hockeyville all over again, when 160 Bantam level hockey players from across the province converge on Smithers for the five days of the B.C. Bantam Tier 3 Hockey Championships in March.
The planning committee is made up of half a dozen volunteers that have already been working behind the scenes for months to prepare. The tournament will run from March 20 to 25, but organizers are asking the greater community to help promote Smithers’ love of the game throughout the March Break week.
When coaches and family are counted, over 300 people are expected to visit Smithers for the championships. Using B.C. Hockey math, at least $400,000 will be spent in town by hockey visitors.
The Bantam Championships will also be a showcase of some of the best minor hockey in the country. The top 10 Tier 3 Bantam teams in the province will be playing all week at the arena, with no admission cost thanks to sponsorship and donations.
“The reason we don’t have to charge people to watch the games is that the community is behind us, so come cheer on your Storm,” said Helga Steenhof, one of the Coordinators.
The organizers are currently seeking volunteers to fill many roles at the tournament – team liaisons, security, 50/50 and raffle sales, merchandise sales, and a number of other spots all need to be filled before visiting teams arrive in Smithers. They’re also arranging team packages, and are hoping to include deals and promotions from local restaurants and businesses. Organizers are hoping that Smithers will really step up and show visitors exactly what sort of place we have here.
“Smithers is an incredible community, and that’s what we want to show off while people are here,” said Steenhof.