Organizers of the giant OFSAA soccer tournament are pumped with how smoothly the event ran this past week.
More than 35 teams and 900 athletes took over North Bay and its eight of its soccer fields as part of the boys and girls high school provincial tournament.
“You set the plan in place but a lot of the things that happen is put together by other people, so you set everything up months in advance and all of a sudden you are bombarded in four days with everything and it gets multiplied,” said Tyson Brear, OFSAA soccer co-convener.
“So when you hear teams and coaches, players say ‘thank you, we had an excellent time,’ not just at the tournament but in the city, I think that’s the important thing. I think they not only enjoyed their soccer experience but also their OFSAA experience which includes everything from the travel up to their accommodations, their food, their time in our city, I think that’s the best thing we could hear.”
Larry Tougas, the City Sports Tourism Coordinator, says the final tallies are not in yet but he figures the economic impact is significant.
“I think in the last two years we were in the neighbourhood of $850,000 but this one will be a little bit more we think just because there is more expense involved every year but it is going to push from $900,00 to $950,000 in that neighbourhood,” said Tougas noting the official numbers should be released in mid June.
Tougas says North Bay is making a name for itself, saying with all the various OFSAA’s that have been hosted here that the Gateway City is getting the nickname as the new OFSAA Capital.
“I think over the last three years the region has probably hosted more events than any other region in the province, aside from Windsor,” said Tougas.
Organizers also credit the North Bay Battalion for lighting quick service at the OFSAA banquet which included nearly 1000 people at tables located on the Memorial Gardens arena floor.
“We just tend to go a little bit beyond the call of duty to make the teams more welcome,” boasted Tougas.
“Our banquet was a phenomenal event, but that is all about the North Bay Battalion and how they serve the food. We were out of the banquet in less than two hours which is unheard of.”
As for the soccer venues, Tougas and Brear admit that many of the southern Ontario teams were impressed with the eight quality grass and turf soccer fields utilized during the week.
The smoothly run event comes a year after organizers struggled with accommodations during the 2016 OFSAA soccer tournament hosted here in North Bay.
See that story HERE