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My Places to Play Plan for Edmonton

Edmonton is the City of Champions. We have incredible fans and homegrown talent, and we need balanced and bold leadership to unlock the potential of professional and youth sports in our city.

While Edmonton may be known for our Oilers, sports fans in our city know we are more than just hockey. We have exciting professional teams including the Edmonton Elks of the CFL, Edmonton Stingers of the CEBL, FC Edmonton in the Canadian Premier League, and Edmonton Riverhawks of the WCL. We need a plan to keep our professional teams here, develop and retain our local talent, and attract sporting events to bolster our local tourism economy.

COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for leagues, teams, players, fans, tourism, and our economy. If there was ever a time for our city to rally together around a plan to make sure our sports teams play a key role in our economic recovery and are resilient for years to come, it’s now.

Why Sports?

Sports connect communities on a local and global level. Professional athletes not only provide us with edge-of-your-seat entertainment, they also play an increasingly important role as ambassadors for inclusion and progress.

Edmonton’s professional sports teams have a special relationship with their fans and with our community. They provide young and amateur athletes something to aspire to in their hometown, and an opportunity to represent their communities and pursue careers as professional athletes. They help us keep our home-grown talent here at home.

My Places to Play Plan is a three-pronged approach:

Attracting major sporting events

  • Our hospitality, venues, and local businesses make Edmonton an ideal host city. I will be a strong advocate with other levels of government, local businesses, and industry and a conduit to our professional sports teams to attract sporting events to our city. This will drive up regional tourism and boost our economy during a time of recovery. This would include exploring a potential bid for the FIFA 2026 World Cup.
  • Esports is a booming industry, selling out stadiums and reaching new heights in global viewership. I would work to attract major Esports events to our city, leveraging our world-class downtown arena.

Creation of an Edmonton Professional Sports Council Advisory Committee

  • A Professional Sports Council Advisory Committee would meet directly with the Mayor on a regular basis to provide expertise and insights on how to support both Edmonton’s economy and our tourism sector, while fostering our sense of community through sport. Membership of the advisory committee would include representation from our professional teams, major venue managers, as well as youth and amateur sports organizations.
  • Amateur and youth representation on the advisory committee will be critical. As the City of Champions, we will need a plan to grow and keep our local talent here in Edmonton, including ensuring we have the right training facilities and opportunities so high potential amateur athletes don’t need to leave Edmonton to pursue their dreams.

A strategic assessment of sports infrastructure and venues

  • Our City Administration will conduct a full assessment of Edmonton’s sport and leisure facilities so we can get the full picture of our current state of infrastructure and venues. This will allow us to align our assets with potential opportunities to continue to promote and grow sports.
    • Where possible, the City of Edmonton will work with our professional sports team to lock-in medium- to long-term venue deals at facilities owned and/or operated by the City. Venues like Commonwealth Stadium and Edmonton EXPO Centre will benefit from regularly scheduled events, promotional opportunities, and revenue generation with 5–10-year resident company agreements.
    • This assessment must include the Northlands Coliseum. Once the crown-jewel of sport in Edmonton, inaction and stalling from City Council has allowed it to become an eyesore in the community. A strategic assessment will determine the viability and potential use of the Coliseum, and if it’s reached the end of its lifespan, we will create a plan to demolish and repurpose the land to better serve the community. It’s time Council takes action on the Coliseum!

Wayne Gretzky famously said, “I skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” I championed the development of our self-sustaining downtown arena district, even when it was unpopular and controversial. This is how I will approach the strategic investments we need to make so that Edmonton can attract the tourism, investment, and events that will position the sports sector as a major part of our growing economy.

I am Kim Krushell, and I am for Places to Play in Edmonton.