The Rogers Hometown Hockey comes to Belleville in the new year and it stems from the city’s move to the American Hockey League status.
Councillor Egerton Boyce told city council Monday night, “They came to us and I think that’s as a result of us signing the deal with the (AHL’s) Belleville Senators as well as our rich hockey heritage. We’re getting dividends already in terms of what we’re doing at the arena.”
The city is making a $20.5 million Yardmen Arena upgrade.
City council took the first step by approving that a “letter of intent ” be accepted and a bylaw be prepared.
Council heard that the Rogers Hometown Hockey representatives contacted the city about hosting the Hometown Hockey event after learning that the Belleville Senators of the American Hockey League were coming to town.
Rogers Hometown Hockey tour is an NHL season hockey festival visiting cities with live entertainment, NHL alumni visits, and lots of community events.
In the festival there are fundraising opportunities for local hockey organizations, and community promotion through digital and social media through Rogers Sportsnet and Hometown Hockey outlets.
Director of recreation Mark Flurher told council the hockey group’s economic impact is about $1 million, and about 10,000 people attend the festival event.
The letter of intent states that the binding portion is that the city will agree to a date and provide a location for the event.
The letter does not hold the city responsible for a particular budget number until the details of the event have been worked out.
City hall will be responsible for providing things like barricades, lighting, waste facilities and restrooms.
If a letter of agreement is approved, the event would probably be held February 24 and 25 of 2018.