Tuesday’s surprise announcement that the city has chosen an event centre partner to move forward with caught Thunder Bay and hockey fans from coast to coast off guard.
Led by former NHL coach Gary Green, the group includes some pretty heavy hitters in the sports and entertainment business in Canada.
Here’s a quick peek at the major players:
Gary Green: In November 1979, at the tender age of 26, Green took over the head coaching duties with the Washington Capitals, becoming the youngest coach in NHL history. He spent parts of three seasons behind the Caps bench, then spent the next two decades covering hockey for Hockey Night in Canada and TSN. For the past 20-plus years he’s been a senior director of Stadium Consultants International and BBB Architects, a company that’s designed facilities such as Vancouver’s Rogers Arena and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
Global Spectrum Facility Management: The company managers London, Ont.’s Budweiser Gardens and more than 120 other public-assembly facilities around the world, drawing more than 20 million spectators to more than 15,000 events in 2013. Other arenas include the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre in British Columbia, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Ariz., home of the Anthony LeBlanc-led Phoenix Coyotes.
Stadium Consultants International: Wholly owned by BBB Architects, the company’s website says it specializes in the “financial and physical planning, development and implementation of sports, recreational, leisure and entertainment facilities.” Projects they’ve worked on include Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Kingston, Ont.’s K-Rock Centre and London’s Budweiser Gardens.
True North Sports and Entertainment: Founded by then Manitoba Moose co-owner Mark Chipman, the company led the charge in 2011 to return NHL hockey to Winnipeg, buying the Atlanta Thrashers and relocating to the MTS Centre. The company is now owned by Chipman and billionaire David Thomson. True North also owns the AHL’s St. John’s Ice Caps, which operates as the Jets chief minor league affiliate. Chipman has expressed interest at moving their affiliation to a new event centre in Thunder Bay, should the city go ahead with its $106.1-million plan.
Lakehead University: Founded in 1965, the school brought back varsity hockey in 2001 and quickly became a powerhouse in the CIS, earning berths in four national championships, twice as host. The Thunderwolves are also one of the most wildly popular teams in the country, regularly drawing more than 2,000 fans to Fort William Gardens. They’ve agreed to become a secondary tenant at the new event centre.
PCL Constructors Canada Inc.: Led by Dave Filipchuk (western Canada) and Jim Dougan (eastern Canada), PCL says it prides itself as a “building company for larger projects, such as airports, sports facilities and office towers.” Major projects include the Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America in Minneapolis, Winnipeg’s MTS Centre and the revitalization of Vancouver’s B.C. Place.
BBB Architects Toronto Inc.: Design firm has developed facilities around the world, including Lybid Plaza in Kiev, Ukraine, the refurbishment of Maple Leaf Gardens for Ryerson University, Rogers Centre in Vancouver and the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.