By Carla Allen & Belle Hatfield
The international hockey spotlight might shine on Yarmouth again next year. It is very early days yet, but Yarmouth has been invited by Hockey Canada to host the 2013 World Junior A Challenge. The challenge was held in Yarmouth in November.
Mitch Bonnar, president of the Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners and a member of the bid committee, said during his presentation to council at the Municipality of Yarmouth on Wednesday, Dec. 12, that an official announcement about the 2013 location is expected in January.
The bid organizers have already received a funding commitment of up to $30,000 from the Municipality of Yarmouth.
They are hoping to receive a similar commitment from the Town of Yarmouth when they appear before them at a special morning meeting of council on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Town council was not able to hear the bid committee’s presentation at its regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday, Dec. 13. A motion to add the presentation to council’s agenda was defeated when Councillor Danny MacIsaac voted against its inclusion.
Citing a concern for setting a precedent, Councillor MacIsaac said he wasn't prepared to hear the presentation because he hadn't had adequate notice. The presentation was not on the agenda, so it required unanimous consent of council for it to be added.
Later in the evening council unanimously approved a motion, seconded by Councillor MacIsaac, which it had first considered at the Nov. 22 meeting of the committee of the whole. The motion was, “that the Town of Yarmouth go on record in support of any future World Junior A Challenge.”
After the meeting Mayor Pam Mood said she would be calling a special meeting of council within the next few days to hear the bid committee's presentation. She said the timing was considered “urgent”.
Bonnar told The Vanguard that council’s decision to deny the bid proponents an opportunity to present last Thursday was “disappointing”.
"It sure doesn't make it any easier to convince the province to participate," he said, adding that there will be other communities from across Canada bidding for the right to host next year’s tournament.
The Junior A challenge brought at least 1,000 players, coaches, scouts, hockey officials and dignitaries to the area. Most of the games were sellouts.
“The games’ success is not just about hockey. It’s how the community interacts with it, how people work within the system, the number of fans that show up,” Bonnar said earlier at the meeting with Yarmouth municipal council. “We embraced it and they noticed that.”