Hockey Day Minnesota Expected To Bring Bemidji An Economic Boost
From the shoppers to the exposure, the city of Bemidji can expect a pretty good economic impact thanks to Hockey Day Minnesota.
“The impact is so hard to measure because it’s so immense in a lot of different areas, but to start off all the hotel rooms were booked on July 3rd. For a weekend in January, that does not happen in Bemidji, Minnesota so often,” says Brian Bissonette, a member of the Hockey Day Organizing Committee.
More than 3,000 people have purchased tickets for each day of Hockey Day so far, and officials say sales usually tend to go up as we get closer to the event. Businesses in Downtown Bemidji have been preparing for the extra foot traffic by hosting special Hockey Day deals and events themselves.
Bissonette says, “It’s been super cool to see everybody get so enthused and get Hockey Day fever because every business it seems is doing something a little bit different. You go around town and you see all the posters up about the schedule of events. They’re all wearing Hockey Day garb or they’ve got some Hockey Day specials going on. Everybody’s embracing this!”
“There’s a group of volunteers that put in an enormous amount of work into this, and as a community we should be thankful for those volunteers. The business community also stepped up and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to make this an event that people will remember, and people will see as special for Bemidji,” adds Dave Hengel, the executive director for Greater Bemidji.
There are the obvious impacts, like more people spending money in the community, but there are also a few not-so-obvious impacts. Hockey Day is a nationally known event, so for Bemidji to be its venue this year is huge.
“The impact of the spending that occurs and the direct spending in our community is enormous, but there’s also indirect impacts in terms of media coverage and coverage about our community. It’s an ability for us to showcase what’s special about Bemidji and to show that we are the emerging regional center,” says Hengel.
More people will get to experience Bemidji, which could lead to more tourists in the future. It’s not all about the tourists, however: locals will have big part in the impact as well.
“All the people that will be doing some shopping, eating at our local restaurants, of course, and then staying at our hotels, but then you add in all the locals who are going to have to gear up! And with the weather forecast the way it is, I bet we sell a lot of blankets. There’s gonna be a lot of people in town selling blankets and hats and hand warmers and feet warmers and everything that has to do with staying warm outside in the winter,” says Bissonette.
In addition to the economic impact, Hockey Day also is already having a positive impact on youth hockey in the area by letting local teams practice on the ice on the days leading up to the main event. Lakeland News will have special Hockey Day coverage all week long.