Critics of sports tourism, embraced by Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and the Council majority, will have a hard time discrediting taxpayers money being used to host the “Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association” or CARHA tournament April 3 to 10, 2016.
The city guaranteed $750,000 three years ago to win the hotly contested bid over Saint John, N.B. and Quebec City. Bill Kell, local leader of the once every-four-year event, known as the “Olympics” of beer league hockey, reports that 133 teams and 2,200 players from around the world have already registered, with 57 squads from Europe, including 14 from Finland, three from Russia and five from Beverly Hills, California.
The $750,000 is deceiving, says Kell, who expects offsetting grants and sponsorships, including some
$300,000 from Celebrate Blockbuster Ontario, which chipped in four years ago when CARHA was hosted by Sault Ste. Marie. Windsor can expect up to 5,000 visitors, including the players, families
and entourages, for the seven-day, sevennight event. “The average annual salary of a CARHA player is $72,000,” says Kell. “They have money to spend.”
Unlike the higher profile and controversial “FINA World Short Course Swimming Championships,” which Windsor will host in December 2016 at a cost to local taxpayers of up to $3 million, the host city is not absorbing accommodations, travel expenses, food and drink of athletes and officials. Each player choosing to stay at one of the 500 rooms booked by CARHA at Caesars Windsor must pay $960 per
room, double occupancy, for seven days. The association is paying for the opening and closing ceremonies, worth $150,000, referees, ice rental at four regional arenas and bussing teams to the games.
The city is estimating FINA will have an economic impact of $16.7 on Windsor. The CAHRA tournament four years ago in The Sault claimed a $13.3 million economic impact with 120 teams compared to the current projection of 133 teams coming to the Windsor event.
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