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Hockey tournaments big boost to Rankin economy

Visitors spent more than $230,000 during the recent Terence Tootoo Memorial (TTM) senior men's hockey tournament in Rankin Inlet, suggests a survey conducted by the hamlet's senior administrative officer.

A total of 68 visitors answered the 11-question survey. Results show 272 people visited Rankin for the five-day tournament and spent an average of $850 per person, which represents about $231,000 coming into Rankin during the TTM, said the hamlet's senior administration officer Justin Merritt.

Barney Tootoo presents Wendel Kaludjak of Team Rankin Inlet with the Jose Kusugak Award for Top Forward at the Terence Tootoo Memorial senior men's hockey championship in Rankin Inlet on March 11. A survey conducted by the hamlet estimates the tournament represented an economic boost to the community of more than $230,000. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

I'm confident the survey is pretty accurate in showing the economic impact the tournament had on the community,” said Merritt. “We're looking at nearly a quarter-of-a-million-dollar input into our economy.”

Faced with uncertain funding from Hockey Nunavut, Merritt said he conducted the survey to show the municipality the impact hockey tournaments have on Rankin Inlet.

The number of tournaments has been growing over the past few year, he said, and now the hamlet hosts the Arctic Atoms, Powerful Peewee, Bantam Rock, Polar Bear Plate and TTM on an annual basis, and the Challenge Cup junior 'C championship every second year.

We're up to hosting five regional tournaments a year now and it looks like the money from Hockey Nunavut to help with these events may dry up,” said Merritt. “So, maybe we'd be able to apply for economic development money to help host some of these tournaments. That was my reason behind conducting the survey.”

We don't want to see these tournaments, and the economic impact they have on our community, lost,” he said. “So, if we need to get extra funding to help bring more people in through discounted rates. This helps prove these tournaments are a viable economic shot for the community.”

With a new arena that could be ready by 2020, it would be in the best interest of the community for the hamlet to work with the TTM committee to look at some improvements for players and visitors to the tournament, concluded Merritt.

He said those improvements could, in turn, be applied to other hockey and sporting events Rankin hosts, which may lead to more benefits to the local economy.

Items listed to work on as ways to improve the experience of people coming to Rankin for the tournaments include the online presale of tickets, better deals on airfares, hotel or car discounts, more local vendors selling food during the weekend and transportation improvements in the community.