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
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 Dave Cobb, managing director of
corporate development with The Jim Pattison Group.
Q: Why is it important for you to be involved in the 2019 IIHF World
DC: I was involved when I worked with the Canucks at the last World Juniors
here [in 2006], and I think other than the Olympics it’s one of the very
few tournaments or competitions in Canada that the whole country really
gets behind. There’s huge support in this country for our junior players,
and I think it’s important for hockey in Canada for the tournament to be
successful. There’s a responsibility for those of us that have been in the
hockey industry in Canada and the event industry in Canada for a long time
to contribute and put the effort in to make sure that the tournament stays
strong and continues to get support right across the country.
Q: How does your past experience (Vancouver Canucks, VANOC) help with
the World Juniors?
DC: I think it’s a reminder that no matter how popular the tournaments are,
it takes a lot of work to successfully put them on. These are complicated
tournaments. There are multiple countries involved, with different cultures
and different languages, and we’ll have more than one city involved so
you’ve got transportation issues. The people putting it on have taken on a
big responsibility, and I think those of us that have put on big
tournaments have an understanding of the operational complexities, an
understanding of who the user groups are that you need to look after from
the international media to the players, the television stations, the fans
that come to the games – all the different parties have to be looked after.
You only know how to do that if you’ve done it before. Certainly, there’s
learning on the go for people, but if those of us that have been involved
in other tournaments can help pass on some of our experience and learnings
it will help make the tournament more successful.
Q: Why is Vancouver so successful hosting major events?
DC: I do think that a Canadian city hosting a winter sport event has a big
advantage right out of the gate because Canadians love winter sports so
much, and especially when it’s hockey. It’s in our culture and it’s part of
who we are as Canadians. Then when you look at Vancouver, with the arenas
available to be used, the transportation system and the hotels, it’s the
infrastructure that’s required to put on an event like this. And then you
have people who have done it before, and understand what it takes. For
example, on the ticket front you can’t just assume everyone will buy up the
tickets. You have to really understand how to market the tickets, how to
price them, how to package them and how to advertise them. The people have
to execute for sure, but they have a very good starting point, a very good
foundation being a large Canadian city putting on a winter sport event.
Q: How would you describe Vancouver’s passion for hockey?
DC: Like most Canadian cities, it’s the one sport that stands out way ahead
of anything else, in my opinion. It’s not that other sports and other teams
in the city aren’t followed, but hockey is just different, and I think it
will always be different. I think pretty soon people are going to be
starting to talk about this tournament, starting to look ahead to who the
players are, and I think it’s going to be really exciting. I think you’re
going to see a couple of weeks here where the whole city is behind it, and
the excitement level is going to build for sure.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with the Playmakers group?
DC: I really just hope I can make some small contribution that makes things
a little bit easier, or maybe helps the committee make some decisions by
sharing my past experiences. As a Vancouverite, I’m so happy the city got
this tournament and if I can contribute something small to that helps it
along, then that’s all I really want to do.