Hockey October 9, 2018


Leading in to the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship the host committee
has formed the Playmakers group, bringing together business leaders from
across B.C. to serve as event ambassadors and strategic advisors, as well
as serving as a connection to local partners and businesses in Vancouver
and Victoria.

The Playmakers will help share the message from Hockey Canada and the host
committee, and support initiatives around community engagement and the
benefits of hosting the World Juniors in their backyard.

This time, HockeyCanada.ca sat down with Bart Given, the managing director
of TORQUE Strategies.


Q: Why is it important for you to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World
Junior Championship?

BG: I think for me, being involved from day one on helping create the bid,
bringing it to life and our work as an agency and my personal effort, I
just want to see it to fruition. That’s the business side. On the personal
side, I love World Juniors as a property, I’ve watched it for years. I
watch it religiously, and I just think it’s one of the anchor events on the
calendar in Canada because you know when it’s happening, you know December
26 there’s going to be a game with Canada playing, you know there’s almost
always a game on New Year’s Eve and that Canada is going to be challenging
for a medal, so it’s a great time of the year to watch hockey and I just
love the storylines behind it.

Q: From your side, what went into the bid process?

BG: For us it was looking holistically on why British Columbia, and
specifically Vancouver and Victoria, why this was a good time for Hockey
Canada and the IIHF to come here. I think from our perspective; this market
wears the flag like no other place in Canada. I say that cautiously,
because I know there’s a lot of great cities that support Team Canada
events, but from the World Juniors in ’06, and the Olympic Games, and FIFA
events here, and Rugby Sevens that happens here, this city, and Victoria as
well, really wrap themselves in the flag and support Team Canada whenever
it’s here. So, the timing was great, the market was ready, and it just felt
like our time and that we would really do a good job.


Q: Why is REPRESENT the right way to get people involved in the World
Juniors?

BG: I think because it has so many meanings, and it’s a bit of a layered
word for us. It starts with the athlete that has a pathway, as in when they
start playing hockey, my son saw it and so many young boys see it as ‘my
career through hockey, if it all goes well and I can fulfill my dream,
somewhere between playing for my junior team and getting to the NHL, I’m
going to represent Team Canada during the Christmas holidays.’ They aspire
to be there, and that becomes a big part of representing their country at
that time. The way that the event has been built and how it’s been marketed
over the years, they’re also representing their hometown and their junior
team. When we thought about that in depth, it’s you’re representing your
country, but you’re also representing your hometown as well, and your
junior team, wherever that might be when you wear the flag. That helped us
really wrap around the athlete, but from a consumer perspective too it was
important for us to show a bit of a pride point for the West Coast to show
that we represent Canada very well, and we will represent the World Juniors
very well, we’ll put on a great show and come out in full force wearing red
and white.


Q: What makes the World Juniors such a must-see event for Canadians
every year?

BG: It’s the storyline. It’s the kids playing for their country, giving it
their all and the ups and downs that come with it. It’s the emotion that
has been built in that event. It’s the timing; it’s such a perfect window
of people spending time with their families and we’re watching kids play
hockey, it’s the truest Canadian event that we have in that way. We also
know when it is on the calendar. The Grey Cup is a great event, the Stanley
Cup is great, and the Super Bowl are all great events that we watch en
masse, but it moves around on the calendar. You know when this event is
happening, you can book it a year in advance, two years in advance that
you’re going to be watching Canada play at some point on Boxing Day. I
think that’s part of the story that makes it really compelling as well. But
really, it comes down to spending time with a broader family, and the fact
that for that window, the entire country puts away their Canucks jersey, or
their Flames jersey, or their Giants jersey and their Royals jersey and
just gets behind one jersey, and that’s Team Canada.


Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?

BG: I think it’s just continuing to strengthen relationships with the
people that helped bring this to life originally and now are going to make
this event super successful. It’s feeling part of a family group that wants
this to be successful for so many reasons, and also getting to realize the
fruits of our labours when it happens in short order.

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