Nearly 100 years after the Victoria Cougars won the Stanley Cup, the iconic trophy may return for the Scotiabank Hockey Day in January 2024, featuring events and all seven Canadian NHL teams.
“CBC and SportsNet reached out to us this fall and said we’ve never had this event on the far west coast or in a market as big as Victoria. Would you entertain this?” said Keith Wells, executive director of Victoria’s Sport Tourism Commission.
“And we thought, well, yeah, that sounds pretty good.”
Since that call, Victoria’s Sport Tourism Commission has been building its own roster, gathering local sponsors, and working on government support.
“I think it’s fantastic,” said Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto. “We have an opportunity to enjoy hockey, of course, but more importantly, we can showcase the city.”
The newly formed Victoria Hockey Legacy Society spearheading the bid has asked the City of Victoria for $100,000 and services totalling $60,000, including use of city staging, bleacher equipment, parking lots at Ship Point, staffing and logistics.
Alto is putting forward a motion to council Thursday.
“The legislature, the Empress, would be the backdrop. Hanging baskets around the artificial rink,” said Wells. “We could make Canadians really hate us.”
It would be a picture-perfect postcard moment for Victoria tourism, topped off with an ice rink right in the Inner Harbour at Ship Point.
“We think we’ll play golf over in Victoria, now we’ve never brought those kind of sticks to a Scotiabank Day in Hockey,” said “Hockey Night in Canada” host Ron Mclean Ron MacLean, who put out a video supporting Hockey Day in Canada coming to Victoria.
Victoria Hockey Legacy Society chair John Wilson says the broadcast could have upwards of 10 million people tuning in. All that’s missing is a little bit of financing.
“We’ve been very lucky so far, but a little more help would be helpful to make sure this takes place,” said Wells. “We expect to press the button in the next few weeks.”
If they find the funding, the Victoria Hockey Legacy Society hopes it’ll pave the way for Victoria to host other hockey events.
“The Memorial Cup is in Kamloops right now. Every three years, it’s on the west coast. We’re not sure if it’ll be 2026 or 2029, but we’re hoping to put a bid in for that,” said Wilson, talking about the national major-junior championship.
A one-time, half-day broadcast celebrating hockey and island stories with the potential to be so much more.
“It’ll be 13 plus hours of the love affair of a country and a game in Victoria,” Mclean promised in his video address.