First came the bid for the Vernon Vipers and the City of Vernon to host the Royal Bank Cup national Junior A hockey championship tournament.
Now comes the people in place to lead that bid.
Chris Collard and Mike Lane have been named the co-chairpersons of Vernon’s bid to host the 2014 Canadian championship tournament at the Wesbild Centre.
Collard, 47, is a certified financial advisor who has lived in Vernon since 1994.
An avid hockey fan, Collard is on the executive of the Greater Vernon Minor Hockey Association, and is also the association’s Junior Divisions co-ordinator (for ages 5-10.) His two sons play within those divisions.
“I became involved in the bid process essentially because of our boys,” said Collard. “They love going to the Viper games and they would be thrilled to have the RBC come to Vernon, just like a whole lot of other people.”
Lane, 36, has lived in Vernon all of his life, and is the controller for Kelowna’s Flair Airlines.
“I understand the value of clear goals and expectations expressed by an organization’s leadership,” said Lane. “That’s our main challenge at the moment – we need to set out a clear path to create a strong proposal, which will then be the basis for a successful RBC tournament.”
Don Klepp, the Vipers’ education consultant and broadcast colour commentator, who first announced Vernon’s bid in June, is delighted that Collard and Lane have volunteered to chair the Vernon host committee.
“They’re keen hockey fans and they’re really energetic, but most of all they’re passionate about bringing this prestigious event to Vernon,” said Klepp.
Hockey fans who want the Royal Bank Cup to come to Vernon in 2014 can help by donating to the bid fund.
Starting tonight at the Wesbild Centre, a donation table will be set up at Viper home games. The donations will help the Vernon bid committee prepare and present its bid proposal.
“Much of the early part of the process will simply require our time and some personal resources, such as our own computers and printers, but a professional proposal will require some expenditure and we will need to travel to present our proposal to Hockey Canada,” said Lane.
“Also, Hockey Canada requires that our proposal be accompanied by a bid fee of $2,500 and a $5,000 surety.”
“We are confident that we will gain business, corporate, and government financial support for the RBC, but those efforts will take time,” added Collar. “In the meantime, local hockey fans can help us move forward.”
All donation amounts will be gratefully accepted and receipts will be issued.
Any donation of $10 or more will be eligible to be counted as a down payment toward a tournament ticket package.
A $20 donation will place the donor’s name in a draw for an all-access VIP tournament package.
Multiples of $20 will gain additional chances to win the VIP package and one of two 2012-13 Viper season ticket packages. So, for example, a $60 donation would garner three chances to win one of the three draw prizes.
If Vernon’s bid is unsuccessful, the collected monies will be donated to local charities.
The Vipers are four-time Royal Bank Cup champions and have appeared in the gold-medal match in the last three national championships, winning twice.
The city hosted the 1990 Centennial Cup Canadian Junior A hockey championship, which the then-Vernon Lakers won on home ice, the first of two straight Centennial Cup appearances.
Vernon hockey teams have appeared in nine national tournaments since 1989.