For years, the Cowichan Valley has held the title of having the World’s Largest Hockey Stick, but now that is being threatened both by natural decay and an American competitor.
According to the Cowichan Valley Regional District, consultants have said that despite ongoing maintenance the wood hockey stick has naturally deteriorated over time and will need to be replaced within three years.
In addition to the natural threat of decay, Lockport, Illinois recently unveiled plans to build a hockey stick larger than the one over the Cowichan Community Centre.
Now the CVRD is facing a decision: should a replacement stick be built at a cost of between $1 to 3 million, or should the region accept the loss of the title.
“The actual cost can only be confirmed through a formal purchase process and it is unclear how many bids would be received considering the very specialized construction with this structure,” an FAQ page on the future direction of the World’s Largest Hockey Stick says.
“There are likely cheaper alternative design and construction options, but those would need to be clearly defined in order to accurately estimate costs.”
In order to help inform the decision, the regional district has launched a survey to get feedback from residents on the future of the World’s Largest Hockey Stick.
Part of the survey also asked residents if the stick were to be replaced, if it should be built to maintain the title of world’s largest, or if instead, residents would be happy with a large hockey stick of any length.
If the decision is made to not replace the stick, the CVRD says it will be decommissioned and removed once it reaches the end of its life but before it becomes a public safety concern.
The survey will run through the summer, with no specific deadline set at this time.
The hockey stick was originally built as part of Expo 1986. At the end of the event, the Cowichan Community Centre was the winner of a Canada-wide competition to acquire the stick and puck, beating out over 30 communities and private organizations.
It has been mounted in the community centre since May 1988, with the only cost being $150,000 in transportation costs to bring the stick to the community centre, which was fundraised through the World’s Largest Hockey Stick Society.
The stick is made out of Douglas-fir glulam wood over a metal support structure. It is 205 feet (62.48 meters) long and weighs 61,000 pounds (28,118 kg).