Friday, September 19, 2008
Hockey Canada, BC Hockey, and the Organizing Committee for the 2009 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge held an information session yesterday at the Port Alberni Multiplex. The notable speakers in attendance were Johnny Misely, Executive Vice President Hockey Operations, Hockey Canada, and Mike Gerrits, Director of Operations, Team Pacific. The Host Committee also provided an update on tickets, volunteering, and sponsorship opportunities available in the Alberni Valley.
Misely, spoke extensively on the Program of Excellence and its role in the development of young players. Since its inception in 1982, the Program of Excellence has been a breeding ground for Canadian hockey talent, and has led Canada to big things on the international stage – ten (10) gold medals in fifteen (15) years for Canadian regional teams at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, twelve (12) gold medals in seventeen (17) years for the National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team, two (2) gold medals at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, thirteen (13) gold medals at the IIHF World Junior Championship, five (5) gold medals at the IIHF World Championship and one (1) Olympic gold medal.
“We feel that we have a world-class system for developing players, and I think the results back that up,” said Misley. “We’ve built it to the point that all young players want to be a part of the program.”
Gerrits, echoed Misley’s comments on the importance of player development and provided additional insight on BC Hockey’s own High Performance program. Gerritts updated the progress of Team Pacific’s development en-route to the 2009 tournament and the excitement around the team’s prospects this year. The final roster for Team Pacific will be announced mid-November, following player evaluations by the team staff.
Dave McCormick, Director of Marketing & Sales of the local Organizing Committee, presented an overview on corporate and small business sponsorship opportunities, as well as launching the unique small business ‘event in a box’ package. McCormick noted that the ‘event in the box’ concept is an exciting opportunity for all businesses in the Alberni Valley to throw their support behind the event and enhance the community-wide festival atmosphere that organizers are striving for. McCormick and his group will make a presentation on sponsorship opportunities at the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce networking luncheon on October 8.
Ron Paulson, co-chair of the Organizing Committee stressed that while many believe the event to be sold-out; great seats are still available in the Alberni Valley and at partner venues across the Central Island. At this point organizers continue to offer full event-only packages.
Tickets are available through the following outlets:
Alberni Valley games www. tickets.com; 1–800–457–4463
Nanaimo games Frank Crane Arena
Cowichan Valley games Cowichan Center
Courtenay/Comox games Sid Williams Theater Box Office
Campbell River games Strathcona Gardens
Parksville/Qualicum games Oceanside Place
The tournament schedule is now confirmed, the bronze medal game is set for noon PST and the gold medal game will follow at 5 p.m. PST on January 4, 2009. TSN has confirmed its plans to broadcast the gold medal game in prime time (8 p.m. EST). Island Radio has confirmed it will broadcast six (6) games on its Port Alberni station 93.3 The Peak and organizers are negotiating additional television opportunities.
Media registration for the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is now available on the website at
, which can be accessed through the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge event logo on the BC Hockey homepage. Media attending the event must have advance accreditation secured. Please note that each media member requires individual accreditation and must complete registration. To avoid any delays, please ensure that you register for all venues that you are likely to attend.
For more information about BC Hockey, please visit the BC Hockey website at