Skip to content

EDITORIAL: Coquitlam's sporting chance

It's time for a little friendly competition for the lucrative sports tourism dollar.

It's time for a little friendly competition for the lucrative sports tourism dollar.

Athletes and their families spend big bucks on accommodation, food and transportation to attend tournaments and there's no reason Coquitlam, along the rest of the Tri-Cities, shouldn't grab a piece of the $2-billion pot.

Sure, this region doesn't have a facility like the impressive Langley Sports Centre, which is currently hosting the BC Boys AAA Basketball Championships, or one with the cachet of the Richmond Oval, with its two Olympic sized rinks, six hardwood sports courts, indoor track, paddling centre and proximity to the airport and numerous hotels.

But between them, our three cities have 10 ice rinks, curling rinks, three indoor swimming pools, dozens of turf and grass fields, and a world-class track-and-field, soccer and field lacrosse complex. The Tri-Cities also has a vigourous sports community, which has enabled the region to draw numerous tournaments and special sporting events in recent years.

Last year, for example, the Adanacs hosted the Minto Cup; in 2009 the World Police and Fire Games came here; and in 2008, both the Canadian Junior Little League championships and the ILF Under-19 World Lacrosse Championships came to Coquitlam. In golf, the Vancouver Golf Club will be hosting the LPGA in a tour stop that's expected to attract 126 million TV viewers.

The cornerstone for any marketing strategy is identifying a niche and the Tri-Cities will need to identify what its strengths are and how to capitalize on them. It may not be able to compete with some of the larger, more aggressively marketed facilities, such as the $56-million Langley Sports Centre, built in 2009 with city, provincial and private funding, but with the recently upgraded Percy Perry Stadium as its flagship, there are many possibilities.

Currently, user groups are looking for a 2016 BC Summer Games bid and this would be a terrific opportunity to raise the profile of the revamped stadium and track, which last hosted the games in 1991.

Still, the region needs a unified marketing presence and a cohesive strategy for working with groups and associations if it wants to punch above its weight class in the business of sports tourism.

- The Tri-City News