Moose Jaw, in conjunction with Hockey Canada, will welcome the best para hockey athletes in the world from May 28 to June 3, as the city will play host to the 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Championship.
This will mark the first time Canada’s Para Hockey Squad would host a world championship tournament and the first major international para-hockey event since the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010.
The announcement was made on Monday morning that Moose Jaw Events Centre will host eight teams from three different continents.
Ryan MacIvor, the Moose Jaw Events Centre general manager, says that this event is a great opportunity to show the people of the city and province what para hockey is all about.
“There is a great aspect of the para sports and I think this is a great opportunity to distinguish and raise the awareness of the high-performance aspect of the sport,” says MacIvor.
There is also an economic spin-off for Moose Jaw from the tournament in an already busy tourism season for the city, but it will also be a good time to show off the community and what it has to offer.
“It’s a great opportunity that Moose Jaw welcomes the world,” adds MacIvor. “This is not just a Moose Jaw Events Centre event, it’s really a community event. It’s about (the) mayor and council’s vision to build the facility many years ago and to drive events and activities within the community. This is just one of many great success stories and legacies that it provides.”
The Government of Saskatchewan, through Tourism Saskatchewan, is contributing $45,000 to the event. An estimated $2 million in economic activity is expected.
"Moose Jaw has a renowned reputation when it comes to delivering great hospitality and events that leave visitors with a desire to return again and again," Moose Jaw North MLA Tim McLeod said. "This championship will draw fans who are eager to cheer on the athletes and support their quest for the world title."
Canada will be joined by the United States, Czechia, Korea, Germany, China, Italy, and Norway.
It will be an opportunity for players like Tyler McGregor – Team Canada’s captain to show his skills on the world stage in front of hopefully a packed Moose Jaw Events Centre.
“I’m ecstatic and that sentiment is throughout our entire team. There’s so much enthusiasm and energy around finally being able to make this announcement. We’ve never been able to host a world championship before, we’re over the moon excited,” says McGregor. “To be able to compete at a major tournament on home ice. Over the past number of years, we haven’t competed in front of fans for the most part. It will be nice to have fans back in the building, especially our own fans.”
The World Para Hockey organizing body was unable to find a host city for the 2023 championships, but then partnered with Hockey Canada to help them find the perfect host city.
Moose Jaw was deemed a perfect host city for the event due to the events centres’ accessibility features, then the City of Moose Jaw stepped up with an offer, and the city wanting to host the tournament.
Conversations started a number of years ago and then ramped up a few months ago to iron out the logistics side of the event.
An event of this size can’t be done without volunteers. Those that are interested in volunteering for the event can contact the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
In addition, the event will be looking for partners and sponsors.
The preliminary-round schedule is highlighted by the first game of the tournament between Czechia and Korea at 11 a.m. MT, Canada’s first game on May 29 at 7 p.m. MT against Korea, and a rematch of the gold medal game at the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games with Canada and the United States on May 31 at 7 p.m. MT.
All 20 games, including the gold medal game on June 4 at 7 p.m. MT, will be played at Moose Jaw Events Centre.
Tickets for the 2023 World Para Ice Hockey Championship will go on sale to the public on March 29 at 10 a.m. MT at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets, starting as low as $15.