Playing the waiting game

Daily Herald File Photo Packed crowds were commonplace during the 2018 WBSC Junior Men’s World Softball Championships at the Max Power Ball Parks.

Prince Albert committee hopes to find out status of 2024 WBSC Senior Men’s World Cup bid in February

One hurdle has been cleared in Prince Albert’s bid to host the 2024 World Baseball Softball Confederations’ Senior Men’s World Cup tournament.

The host committee, which is co-chaired by Felix Casavant and Derek Smith, found out in October that Softball Canada had selected them to be the potential hosts for the event.

However, that bid is currently stuck in a holding pattern at the WBSC works out their plans for that tournament.

“We do know that the WBSC board looked at our bid during their meeting earlier this month and they were impressed by it,” Casavant said. “However, they have elected to defer awarding any future championships until they have a chance to regroup for their meeting in early February.

“The WBSC is are also looking at some potential changes in terms of tournament formats and the number of teams coming in, as they try to reduce some of the costs for hosts, especially as everyone is trying to adapt to things at the moment due to COVID-19.”

As a result, the Prince Albert bid is in a bit of a holding pattern until the WBSC’s February meeting.

“Once we know what comes out of that meeting, we will work jointly with Softball Canada on revising our bid package if we need to once the format is finalized and then we’ll go from there,” Casavant said.

“At this point, we’re not aware of any other bids for the tournament, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re the only city that’s looking to host the event. People will wait until they know for sure when the tournament is going to be, the format and the cost of the event. We were just a step ahead of everyone in terms of putting our bid together.

“From my experience, bids that have come from North America usually end up getting to host the tournaments, so hopefully that’s a positive for us.”

After announcing their intentions to bid for the tournament at a Prince Albert City Council meeting in August, the Prince Albert host committee beat out a bid from St. John’s, N.L. to serve as Softball Canada’s representatives for the 2024 event.

“One of the big things that their bid had over ours was that there were eight players from Newfoundland and Labrador on Canada’s team,” Casavant said.

“However, Softball Canada was very impressed with our bid, our ability to host a world championship and our facilities, which are second to none. All those factors ended up giving us the upper hand.”

Another key factor in Prince Albert’s bid was a video presentation that was put together by Aspen Films in Saskatoon.

“We were very fortunate to be able to get both the Premier (Scott Moe) and the Mayor (Greg Dionne) for the video and we were able to show clips of the packed crowds we had during the 2018 tournament we had here (the Junior Men’s Softball World Championship) and the facilities at the Max Power Ball Parks,” Casavant said. “Everything came together nicely and I think it showed the commitment from everyone that was needed to put an event like that together.

“Although the 2024 tournament is still a few years away, we’re going to do everything in our power to bring another big event to Prince Albert.”