The Estevan Bruins have come up with an idea for a legacy project for the 2022 Centennial Cup national junior A hockey championship, presented by Tim Hortons.
Members of the Bruins appeared before Estevan city council on Monday night to pitch their vision to have a new centre ice score clock installed at Affinity Place in time for the tournament, which will happen from May 20-29, 2022.
Cory Prokop, the co-chair of the 2022 Centennial Cup committee alongside Greg Hoffort, said the Bruins have inquired about purchasing a score clock that could be installed and operational in September, before the start of the 2021-22 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) regular season.
The Bruins want to work collaboratively with Estevan city council on this purchase to ensure fiscal responsibility to the community, while providing an enhanced experience for hockey games and major events.
Two separate proposals have been made. One would be $222,014 plus tax for a square-shaped score clock with a top ring. The other would be $264,425 plus tax with the ring and rounded corners for additional screen space.
The legacy project for the community was a requirement when Estevan was awarded the Centennial Cup tournament. Several ideas have been tossed around, and the committee has selected the score clock.
“We still have a state of the art building, a beautiful building, there’s no doubt about that. Probably the nicest one in our league and probably one of the top two or three in the country as far as junior A hockey is concerned,” said Prokop.
But the scoreclock, which was new when Affinity Place opened, is likely going to have obsolete technology in a couple of years, and will need to be replaced in a few years.
“When the (Centennial Cup) final game is on TSN, it would be great to showcase a nice big clock like this on TSN nationally, and the revenues that we’re looking at bringing in for the tournament, based on the financials we have today … before that legacy project, probably are somewhere in that $300,000 to $500,000 range at the end of the day,” he said.
Prokop and other representatives of the club would like to see the clock in place in time for the start of the 2021-22 regular season to help build excitement for the Bruins season and for the national tournament.
If the Bruins have the green light by the first week of July, the clock could be installed by the third or fourth week of September. The SJHL season is slated to begin Sept. 24.
The Bruins are now focused on selling tickets and making it as affordable as possible for the public to attend the tournament. The city has committed $75,000 in 2021 and 2022 to the tournament, covering most of the corporate sponsorship needs.
After Councillor Tony Sernick asked the Bruin representatives what they wanted from the city, Prokop replied the Bruins want the city to purchase the score clock, and then once the tournament is finished, the organizing committee would reimburse the city for the expense.
“This was something that we thought was a win-win for the city and for the Bruins moving forward, putting this clock in using the money that we earmarked as a legacy fund,” said Prokop.
Councillor Shelly Veroba asked what would happen if there wasn’t money at the end of the tournament to return to the city.
Prokop confidently said they don’t have a Plan B, because they will make that much money.
“I think between Greg and I and the rest of the committee, in putting some of the numbers together, we’re pretty confident that we can make this kind of money,” said Prokop.
He noted that when Estevan hosted the 2016 Western Canada Cup, it finished with around $3000,000, which was then used to support the Bruins, the 2016 Saskatchewan Summer Games and to upgrade Affinity Place.
Veroba then asked what the harm would be in waiting until after the tournament to purchase the clock. Prokop said they would want to have the clock in time for the tournament.
Danny Ewen, the club’s director of marketing and operations, said this would give the city a chance to sell sponsorships on the score clock.
The city is in the midst of selling the naming rights for Affinity Place for the next 10 years.
The score clock could also be used by other users at Affinity Place, and some of the other special events hosted at Affinity.
The current scoreboard could be sold to another community.
Ultimately council decided to table the request until the city receives a report on the sale of naming rights and other sponsorships at Affinity Place.
Veroba said it’s a great idea for the legacy of this Centennial Cup, but expressed concern at taking on this level of sponsorship at this time, because if something were to happen with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the tournament doesn’t proceed, then the Bruins won’t be able to reimburse the city.