CALGARY (660 NEWS) — Hockey at all levels has been heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.
Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism, and Status of Women says the Jackpots for Junior Hockey 50/50 online initiative will help hockey to weather the economic troubles created by this pandemic.
Leela Aheer explains the Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis Commission has amended its policy, permitting online ticketing sales for licensed charitable organizations to conduct 50/50 draws.
“Adult Albertans will help light the financial lamp for their favourite teams and we’re so excited about this,” she said. “We are asking all Albertans to get on-side with this initiative and buy tickets.”
Alberta Junior Hockey League Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk says although the challenges of this past year have been new and unfamiliar, community support and passion for Alberta hockey teams have been unwavering.
“Ensuring that these teams remain viable, is not only a vital stimulus for the Alberta economy, but it also helps our communities cope from a physical and mental well-being standpoint,” he said.
Western Hockey League (WHL) Commissioner Ron Robison explains the 20 junior hockey teams in Alberta rely almost entirely on ticket sales and sponsorships to survive.
However, with COVID-19 restrictions preventing fans from attending games, the teams are simply not viable.
“Alberta junior hockey teams are not only a critical source of local pride and inspiration during these challenging times, but are also major economic drivers for their communities throughout the province, generating over $100 million annually for the Alberta economy.”
He adds, in an uncertain time the support provided by the initiative is critical to ensuring teams can continue to operate.
Similar setbacks have impacted junior hockey in Saskatchewan, but the government there has announced $4 million in funding for their WHL and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Teams.