With NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirming the next World Cup of Hockey will take place in 2020, potential cities are already lining bids to host.
One of the first to publicly declare interest?
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That’s the word from Oilers Entertainment Group CEO Bob Nicholson, who said he has already informed NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly of the Oilers’ interest in staging the eight-team event, which is being held this year in Toronto.
“The year will be right in our wheelhouse,” Nicholson said of 2020. “In 2019, the whole Ice District is finished.
“And when you look at what they’re trying to do in Toronto, they’re trying to create a tournament and festival. Well, there is no better festival site than here in Edmonton. With Rogers Place, the top arena in North America, the Winter Garden and Ice District, these types of events are made for this district and the arena.”
The Ice District, as described on the project’s website, is “Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district,” currently taking shape in Edmonton. It’s a $2.5 billion project that will feature Rogers Place — soon to be the new home of the Oilers — along with two office towers, condominiums, a movie theater and a hotel.
Spearheaded by Oilers owner Darryl Katz, the Ice District promises to be a massive development for bot the city and organization. Katz’ recent sale of Rexall Health confirmed one of his primary focuses moving forward was the Ice District, and all it entails.
Katz, 54, has made no secret that his current focus is far away from the world of neighbourhood drugstores and Medicentres, and is laser-trained on the building of Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district.
“There’s a change in the focus of his business operations, now that he’s become heavily involved in the real estate development and entertainment component in and around a new arena development here,” says Dan Mason, a University of Alberta professor of sport management, who consulted for the city on the arena project.
“There’s a new landscape for the operations of professional sport franchises, and in many respects, they’re seen as a piece of a bigger puzzle,” he said.
Nicholson said there’s no definitive timeline for the 2020 World Cup bidding process.