Behind the scenes: A look into the preparations for the Memorial Cup


The 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia encompasses four teams, a handful of coaches, and dozens of players, but what about the invaluable people behind the scenes?

It begins with Tanya Colburne, event manager of the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia, tasked with managing a team of more than 650 dedicated volunteers, each with an area of focus who make the event come to life. While large in scope and scale, it’s the little details that bring the event all together.

“The community has really embraced the event since they heard Halifax is hosting,” Colburne told the Canadian Hockey League. “As soon as we announced that volunteer applications were open, within a month we had filled our requirement and had a wait list of almost 200, so that’s pretty phenomenal.”

While primarily a hockey-centric event, the CHL championship has evolved into a celebration of the game, with a number of ancillary pieces paying homage to hockey and the hosting community, including big hits like Street Fest, held on iconic Argyle Street in downtown Halifax where premiere local musicians and bands, including Sloan, The Trews, and Ria Mae, will play to the delight of locals and 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia attendees.

“We focus on Nova Scotia musicians where we not only want to appease and excite the hockey community, but also those that perhaps aren’t uber hockey fans but who still want to be a part of all of the excitement,” Colburne said. “We’ve really brought together a solid lineup. We have some of the smaller up-and-coming artists, who are just sort of hitting the scene in a big way, all the way up to those who would be considered the multi-profile musicians. The feedback and response has been absolutely phenomenal.”

Aside from Street Fest, attendees can partake in Kubota Fan Zone, a yearly tradition that includes attractions like a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit and Top Shot Hockey. There will also be a host of new amenities, including the virtual reality Deloitte Discovery Zone, an obstacle course put on by the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as Atlantic Canada’s first-ever synthetic ice surface.

“We’ve insisted on those participating in the Kubota Fan Zone that they ensure their activations are interactive,” Colburne explained.

Overall, Colburne and her team have made a point of embracing Atlantic Canada’s unique culture. That may be best seen with the introduction of Maritime Day, a showcasing of a ‘day in the life of a Maritimer’ where guests will have the opportunity to witness the new CH-18 Cyclone Helicopter, in addition to a tour of the aviation museum at the CFB Shearwater Air Force Base. Guests can also experience naval ship tours, RHIB rides, and interactive military displays.

Keeping up with the Maritime tradition, fans will then be invited to the Alexander Keith’s Brewery, a historic local landmark that will play host to a kitchen party where guests can expect plenty of great drinks, food, music, and entertainment for a truly unique Halifax experience.

For those looking to further indulge, another new event partners with 10 local bars and restaurants where fans can collect ‘passport stamps’, with the first 60 returnees to submit a completed passport receiving a Memorial Cup stylized watch complements of Samuel Bouki. Remaining passports will be entered into a draw to win gift certificates from each participating establishment.

“The Downtown Halifax Business Commission is a sponsor and it allows us to really engage those who aren’t directly in the action as part of the other events that are happening throughout the week,” Colburne detailed. “We’re really excited about that, and the response to it has been great too. In a lot of cases, folks were reaching out to us instead of us having to approach them, which just again showcased how keen all were to get involved.”

Perhaps most impressive, the 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia has provided a wonderful opportunity to spark community engagement.

“Of all the events Halifax has hosted, this is the one many have been waiting for. On top of that, from the economic development standpoint, what it’s done for the city already is unique too,” Colburne concluded. “Certainly the community has benefited in a big way, and that’s only going to grow between now and the end of May.”

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