In November 2017, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John came together to host the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in their respective cities. This was the second time in two years that the duo of cities hosted three Canadian teams and five international teams in the annual hockey challenge.
To help spread the word about this world-class event in northeastern B.C., the City of Dawson Creek successfully applied to the Trust’s Marketing Initiatives program to receive $14,217 in funding for marketing. Their marketing efforts were effective and surpassed expectations. More than $700,000 of visitor spending was attributed to the event. In Dawson Creek, visitors stayed for an average of 4.4 nights and spent an average of $1,170 per party. In Fort St. John, visitors stayed for an average of 4.3 nights and spent an average of $810 per party.
In 2018, Northern Development received reporting from the hosts, including the results of the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM) report produced by the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance. The total economic activity (GDP) generated by the 2017 World U17 Hockey Challenge was $1.83 million of B.C., $1.27 million was localized in the Dawson Creek and Fort St John area.
In preparation for hosting the 2017 World U17 Hockey Challenge, the City of Fort St. John completed some upgrades to the North Peace Arena, one of the host facilities for the competition. Northern Development committed $56,000 in funding to help with the cost of the two projects. These upgrades will continue to benefit the community for years to come, both for locals who frequent the facility and for the future opportunities it creates.
The World Under-17 Hockey Challenge is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence and has been the starting point for hundreds of professional hockey careers. More than 1,600 NHL draft picks have played in this tournament and the event is a great place for hockey fanatics to see up-and-coming athletes face-off against worthy opponents from around the globe.