April 15, 2024

Encouraging native sports activities tourism has been named a precedence for the municipality and Fort McMurray’s athletic group.

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The management of MacDonald Island Park says the island has been on the sports activities tourism radar for years and is getting extra consideration.

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A whole bunch of athletes, coaches and their households simply spent per week on the 2024 New Holland Canadian Underneath-21 Curling Championships. Baseball Canada is internet hosting championships in Fort McMurray through the subsequent three summers. Jodie Cooper, director of sports activities and recreation with the Regional Recreation Company of Wooden Buffalo (RRC), says there are preliminary talks with present and potential companions within the sports activities world.

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“It’s about constructing relationships and relationships constructed on belief, giving nationwide sport governing our bodies the arrogance to come back into our area, and understanding that we’re going to don’t only a nice job at occasion logistics and internet hosting, however actually present a memorable expertise,” mentioned Cooper in an interview.

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Encouraging native sports activities tourism has been named a precedence for the municipality and Fort McMurray’s athletic group. Kevin Weidlich, president of Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo Financial Improvement and Tourism (FMWBEDT), informed council at a gathering final month that constructing a group’s tourism repute takes time, however the groundwork is being laid.

The area is being promoted at commerce reveals and conferences for the sports activities business. Most sports activities amenities have been constructed or upgraded inside the previous 15 years. There’s a sprawling path system maintained year-round. The airport can deal with worldwide flights. 

Cooper mentioned Fort McMurray’s title is beginning to decide up traction slowly inside Canadian sports activities. Forming partnerships with native sports activities organizations is necessary if there’s a need to host a big athletic competitors locally. Final weekend’s nationwide curling championship was made attainable by a partnership with the RRC and the Fort McMurray Oilsands Curling Membership.

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Baseball Canada has been the biggest latest associate with the RRC. The group has already hosted 4 nationwide championships within the metropolis, with the latest competitions taking place final summer time. The Fort McMurray Giants baseball crew additionally compete from the island.

“We’re beginning to have these conversations of what that future relationship seems like between Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo and Baseball Canada, and is there one thing past these horizons,” mentioned Cooper. “These conversations are of their preliminary phases.”

Curlers on the 2024 New Holland Canadian Underneath-21 Curling Championships at MacDonald Island Park on March 26, 2024. Vincent McDermott/Fort McMurray Right this moment/Postmedia Community

As for multisport occasions just like the 2023 Arctic Winter Video games, which was unfold throughout Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo, the island usually hosts the key or bigger occasions. The majority of the athletic and cultural occasions on the island have been held on the island, in addition to venues reminiscent of Keyano Faculty and Centerfire Place.

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Different previous sporting occasions, reminiscent of the Western Canada Summer season Video games and the Alberta Winter Video games, additionally had most of their occasions hosted at MacDonald Island Park.

The spinoff to those occasions advantages the remainder of the group, mentioned Cooper. The latest curling championship was additionally the primary time many athletes from throughout Canada noticed the northern lights. Cooper mentioned she was informed some groups downloaded apps forecasting the auroras.

“These occasions give us the chance to inform our story,” she mentioned. “They provide folks a purpose to come back to our group and expertise our amenities. There’s the financial advantage of going to our eating places and staying in our resorts. All that’s pushed by a sports activities tourism initiative.”

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