Today's very sad news: Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament (KIBIHT) society members voted unanimously last night to cancel next year's tournament. They are upset that city hall was unable to provide their desired number of sheets of ice for their new desired tournament dates . I have met with the KIBIHT folks, and I was at the council meeting where we discussed the KIBIHT ice issue. In my opinion, it boils down to very difficult issues. With the change to the national bantam hockey tournament schedule, KIBIHT could not secure the top teams for their old tournament dates. The problem for the new desired tournament dates is that they conflict with other bookings of the desired facilities. We have trade shows booked in, and also lacrosse practices and games. So, who do we bump for whom?
KIBIHT is the top bantam hockey tournament in the world, according to a Hockey News article written I believe in 2006. I have seen the article with my own eyes, because I asked KIBIHT President Fred Cavanagh to show me. It is the longest running continuous tournament in Kamloops. I grew up around people who were very involved in the tournament.
I don't want it to end and I know we, as a council, do not want it to end.
I also realize that we have new and also important users in the trade shows and in lacrosse.
So, what we tried to do was to find a short term solution and a potential long term solution.
Short term involved offering two community arenas, and hoping that the private arena in town could accommodate. This was, at best, in my view, a bandaid, but it bought time to explore long term solutions. In hindsight, I think we should have contacted the private arena, the Ice Box, to see if they could accommodate before we announced our proposal. But things were moving were pretty fast, and I sensed city staff has a very strong confidence the Ice Box could accommodate.
Long term, we asked city staff to explore the purchase of a dry floor which could accommodate both KIBIHT and trade shows and potentially lacrosse in a short time window.
I think this might have worked. I know the KIBIHT directors have done huge service to the community and feel so strongly about offering a world class tournament to the hockey world, but I would be lying if I did not say I hope they reconsider.