Nanaimo’s celebration of hockey netted big crowds in February.
An estimated 15,000-20,000 people took part in Hometown Hockey on Feb. 26–27, according to the City of Nanaimo.
The event with Hometown Hockey hosts Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan was the culmination of a week of activities and featured ice skating, ziplining over Sway-a-lana lagoon, ball hockey on floating docks, and fan experiences, such as video games.
The city spent more than $322,000 on the event. There was also more than $73,000 in in-kind contributions and sponsorships.
The municipality now owns equipment for an outdoor rink and zipline and Richard Harding, director of parks, recreation and environment expects both amenities will make a re-appearance.
“It was a great community event,” said Harding, adding that Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo school district, Snuneymuxw First Nation and the City of Nanaimo all worked well together on an event that showed nationally for close to eight hours.
Coun. Bill Bestwick, chairman of the local organizing committee, said he doesn’t know how they could have done anything different, more or better to showcase the city across the country than what they did.
“It brought people together from so many different areas and departments and thinking and concepts and stakeholders, private and our community partners to First Nations … just everybody put their absolute best foot forward and I think the results were very obvious to those that attended, the amount of work that went into it,” he said. “Now it’s the legacy too that we have as a result of this, to build from.”
He said Hometown Hockey has said it was the best event they’ve done.
The event saw $4,210 and 30 kilograms of food raised for Loaves and Fishes and $5,000 for KidsSport Nanaimo.