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.
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
Creation of an Edmonton Professional Sports Council Advisory Committee
A strategic assessment of sports infrastructure and venues
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.