Kelowna’s taxpayers could be on the hook for some of the funds lost due to the cancellation of the 2020 Memorial Cup tournament.
In August 2018, city council agreed to support a bid and committed $225,000 towards hosting the prestigious junior hockey event in 2020.
The CHL announced Kelowna won that bid in October 2018. It was anticipated that the tournament would bring over 10,000 visitors to the city between May 21 to 31, 2020 with an economic spinoff of more than $12 million to the local community.
But in the spring of 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled.
“Significant planning had taken place in preparation for the event, and a number of non-refundable operational expenses were incurred, such as branding/design, advertising/promotion and bid development,” reads a report headed to Kelowna city council on Monday, July 13. “The outcome is a fairly significant deficit with revenues of $43,000 and expenses of $308,000, totalling a net loss of approximately $265,000.”
The Kelowna Memorial Cup 2020 Society is hoping to divide the event liability equally between the three host organizations: City of Kelowna, Kelowna Rockets and Canadian Hockey League.
As suggested by the host society, the city’s share of the losses would be $90,000, which would be put towards assisting with the “outstanding operational expenses.” The other $135,000 would be put aside for a potential bid for a future Memorial Cup.
As of yet, none of the funds have been provided by the city, but staff is recommending council approve the request.
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