Leaving a legacy

Lucas Punkari/Daily Herald Junior Men’s World Softball Championship co-chair Felix Casavant, Northern Lights Casino general manager Richard Ahenakew, director of sponsorship Ian Litzenberger and co-chair Derek Smith were all smiles Tuesday as they saluted the Northern Lights Casino and SIGA’s contributions to Project Triple Play.

In order to be the hosts for the 2018 Junior Men’s Softball World Championship, a number of upgrades had to be made around the Max Power Ball Parks.

That’s where Project Triple Play came together back in 2014 as a major fundraising initiative to help host events like the one that starts here on Saturday.

“It originally started then to help get things in motion for the 2015 U16 boys nationals championship,” Project Triple Play Chair Ian Litzenberger said. “When we put together our bid to bring forward to Softball Canada for the Worlds, we couldn’t host the event with how things were set up unless we did $1.55 million worth of expansion.

“We’ve expanded the field dimensions by 250 feet, both main diamonds for the tournament are now fully lit and they have extra seating and press boxes to go long with that. The best thing though is that we are leaving a 30-year legacy for the youth in Prince Albert and for any other big events we want to host in the future.”

The finishing touches on the project are going right now at the diamonds, as the host committee recognized the Northern Lights Casino and SIGA for their contributions to the final phase of Project Triple Play, which has raised close to $1.6 million.

“They’ve been involved right from the start of the project and we wanted to give thanks to them for that,” said Litzenberger, who is also the director of sponsorship for the World Championship.

“It’s a huge event for our community that will generate new dollars and employment opportunities over a short period of time,” Northern Lights Casino general manager Richard Ahenakew said.

“The impact this is going to leave and the memories people are going to have from this event will be huge, and it was easy to help be involved in making this a success.”

The next major goal for the host committee is to make sure that fans come out to the ballpark for the tournament.

“When we went about setting our budgets three years ago, we felt like if we could get around 2,000 to 3,000 fans through the gates during the week, it would be a successful tournament,” Litzenberger said.

“As of Tuesday, we’ve sold 1,300 tournament passes. With the walk-ups sales still to come, I think we’re in a good place right now.”