A student-athlete hockey tournament that marched through Penticton last spring helped inject close to $3.4 million into the city’s economy, new data shows.
The 2023 Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) Western Championships brought a total of 86 teams, as well as roughly 1,900 players and staff to Penticton from March 6 to 19.
Event officials say around 3,900 spectators attended the tournament, with 84 per cent of those travelling more than 320 kilometres and staying on average of more than three nights in the city.
Games across six CSSHL divisions were played at Penticton’s Memorial Arena, South Okanagan Events Centre and Okanagan Hockey Training Centre.
“Seeing the impressive economic numbers from last year’s tournament really emphasizes how impactful the CSSHL Western Championships are to Penticton,” said Dean Clarke, general manager and regional vice president of OVG360, the group that oversees the SOEC.
“With a significant portion of participants and spectators coming from outside of the Okanagan region, this annual event provides a clear and powerful economic boost to our local hospitality throughout its 14-day stay during a typically quieter period of tourism.”
Teams across U15 to U18 age groups from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Idaho were featured at an annual tournament.
Data released by the CSSHL suggests that more than 91 per cent of the event’s participants were out-of-town, overnight guests.
Along with the $3.337 million economic impact on Penticton, event officials say that the tournament injected $3.86 million into the province and had a $4.9 million boom nationwide.
Earlier this year, the CSSHL and City of Penticton agreed to a 10-year, $500,000 deal to keep the tournament here.
A total of 96 teams and thousands of additional players and staff are expected to be in Penticton in 2024 for the event.
“With the continued expansion of the CSSHL, which will see 96 teams from the four western provinces and the states of Idaho and Washington competing during the 2023-2024 season, the CSSHL Western Championships will only continue to grow each season and provide even further economic impact on both Penticton and the province of BC,” said Kevin Goodwin, the chief operating officer of the CSSHL.
This past March marked the seventh time Penticton had hosted the tournament.