The event center officially opened as Co-op Place
By MEDICINE HAT NEWS on October 1, 2021.
Co-op Place staff are preparing to welcome large numbers of fans to the arena for the first time in 18 months and the first time under a new name.
Representatives from the City of Medicine Hat and the South Country Co-op hosted a groundbreaking ceremony Friday ahead of the Medicine Hat Tigers’ season opener in Swift Current against the Broncos.
The city-owned arena, which also became a directly city-run facility after the contract manager was released in mid-2020, hosted around 500 fans at each of the two exhibition matches last month, but larger crowds are expected this weekend.
“We’re really excited to have more fans in the building and show them what we have to offer,” said Trampas Brown, general manager of the facility, on Friday afternoon.
Mayor Ted Clugston and representatives from the South Country Co-op were on hand to cut the ribbon to re-announce the naming rights partnership signed a year ago. The conditions were not disclosed.
The facility was, however, closed to spectators for the following 2020-2021 Western Hockey League season.
Large crowds have not made it to the building since mid-March 2020, when the pandemic began, when all of the province’s major spectator facilities were closed.
Shortly after, the city announced that it would take over operations of contracted supplier ASM Global events before the end of the five-year contract in the summer of 2020.
Additionally, the five-year naming rights contract with Canalta Hotels expired without an extension, and both parties present on Friday said the new partnership would be mutually beneficial.
“The joke is we’re hanging out too much, because (Co-op) is still here,” said Clugston, who thanks the Canalta Group, and pointed to the co-op retailer’s other support for the Police Point Park upgrades. and its general presence in the community.
Co-op chief executive Paul Haynes said naming rights could be the first for Co-op in Western Canada.
“I’m an optimist, and the business will come back and the fans will come back,” he said. “We will be hosting many wonderful shows and events here. ”
Brown said that while hockey and other shows are planned, concert tours that would require the 6,000-seat venue are less certain in the immediate future.
“The big show touring industry is about to come back, just because of the uncertainty,” Brown said.