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Skate Canada bringing national championships to Kingston
Posted: May 14th, 2014 @ 10:53pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
People shouldn't read anything, Mark Halliday says, into the fact that there's barely eight months to go to the competition date and Skate Canada is just now getting around to naming the site where its 2015 national championships will be contested.
"We've had a new senior executive team come in and a few things have slowed down, despite our best efforts," Halliday, Skate Canada's chief marketing officer, said after it was announced Wednesday morning that the Canadian figure skating championships would be held at the Rogers K-Rock Centre in January.
"We would normally like to be (making such announcements) a year out and that's what we will get back to. It's certainly not a reflection on the city or this event. It's internal operations at Skate Canada. With all the transition, some things slowed down."
Halliday, who cut his teeth in the promotion business with UFC, said he's confident the week-long event will be a resounding success, regardless of the relatively late start. "We could go on sale for this in September or October," he said.
The need to get a site identified is largely to benefit skating clubs across the country.
"Our skating community needs to know, 'If I'm going to have a skater competing, do I have to plan for them to tavel across the country, or do I have to plan for them to drive?'" Halliday said.
Kingston scored well across the board on criteria the national association uses to select sites for its championship, Halliday said.
"We talk to the city; we want to make sure that we're welcome," he said. "We talk to the tourism bureau; if there's an economic development group (we talk to them). These events are expensive and we're looking for their support.
"We talk to our broadcast partners, if they had experience in the building, experience in the community, how's the crowd been. We all want a great atmosphere for the skaters, for the other fans, and so the atmosphere shows up on TV. Kingston has a great reputation. They've hosted Skate Canada events before. The guys at TSN spoke highly of it.
"We'll call the local skating clubs and make sure they're supportive and receptive because they're instrumental in bringing in volunteers, and we'll need a couple of hundred volunteers to put on an event of this size."
This year's Canadian championships were held in Ottawa but three of the last four national competitions have been held in venues off the big-league path - Victoria (7,000 capacity), Moncton (7,200) and Mississauga (5,500). The K-Rock Centre is the smallest venue to host the event since Sudbury's Memorial Centre in 1990 and Kingston is the smallest community to do so since Chicoutimi, Que., in 1989.
Halliday estimated that of the 5,400 seats in the downtown arena, probably 1,000 seats would be lost to accommodate TV cameras, media, judges and the kiss-and-cry zone.
Tickets will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., and be available online at www.ticketmaster.ca, by phone at 1-855-985-5000 or in person at the K-Rock Centre box office.
The senior competition package, for reserved seating to all senior practices, competitions and the exhibition gala, Jan. 23-25, will cost between $160 and $185, plus the ever-popular surcharges.
The junior competition package, good for general admission to all novice and junior practices and competitions from Jan. 19-22, is priced at $40, plus the unspecified surcharges. Children 12 years of age and younger will be admitted free of charge to the novice and junior events.
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