Empty Cup: OR Winter Market hockey games nixed as sponsorship runs dry

After four years of flying pucks, body checks and plenty of spilled beer, the floor hockey tournament at ORWM is forced to hang up its skates.
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It’s a Winter Olympics year, but there will be no hockey pucks flying at Winter Market 2014.

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After four years of pitting industry teams against one another in a round-robin floor hockey tournament to benefit the Conservation Alliance, the raucous, fun and occasional blood-drawing Canada Goose Cup is hanging up its skates.

Blame a lack of willing sponsors for the event, Canada Goose Senior Vice President of Marketing Kevin Spreekmeester told O.R. Daily.

“It had grown to a point that we had to partner with other brands to make it feasible, not only financially but logistically as well,” he said. “We put feelers out to find new sponsors — both Canadian and American — but were unable to get the support.”

A year ago, Canada Goose turned to fellow Canadian brands Arc’teryx and Baffin to expand sponsorship and keep the event going in 2013 as the renamed Canadian Cup. Beyond the title sponsors’ undisclosed contributions, 16 participating teams contributed about $500 each.

Space was also an issue, Outdoor Retailer Show Director Kenji Haroutunian said. While the event appeared well attended, in reality the two hockey rinks took up so much space that few spectators could fit.

While fans are disappointed, the Conservation Alliance takes the ultimate body-check, losing out on prime fundraising on night one of the show. The non-profit raised a total of $25,025 from the event in the previous four years, Executive Director John Sterling said.

“In my experience, events — no matter how successful — have a natural life-span. The Canadian Cup was a great fundraiser (and awareness raiser) for the Conservation Alliance, and a ton of fun for the participants. We are deeply grateful to everyone who made it happen.”

Without hockey, show organizers are replacing the games in Meeting Room 250 at the Salt Palace with the Winter Market Runway Show — a fashion event of outdoor apparel and footwear, starting at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 22. It will serve as a lead-in to the Industry Party, starting at 8 p.m. at Club Elevate with best-of-the-80's band Flashback Heart Attack.

--David Clucas

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