Prince George will continue to take a significant economic hit later this summer after the COVID-19 pandemic has fouled out another major sports event.
The Canadian Native Fastball Championships (CNFC) have been postponed a year to 2021 to meet with current public health recommendations and physical-distancing measures.
According to a Tourism PG statement this morning (May 8), the organizing committee is considering the safety of athletes travelling to the northern capital as more than 80 teams and 2,500 visitors were expected to take in the action at Spruce City Stadium.
“The Championships are not just a sporting event,” said Committee Chair Harley Desjarlais.
“It is a cultural celebration and an opportunity to bring youth, athletes and communities together. We look forward to welcoming everyone in 2021.”
The postponement is expected to leave a $3.5-million loss in the city’s economy, but Tourism PG CEO Tracey McBride supports the decision.
“This will be a fantastic event for our city next year, and we are committed to creating an exceptional and memorable experience for all athletes, support personnel, and visitors when it is safe to welcome them in 2021.”
BREAKING: @tourismpg says the Canadian Native Fastball Championships in Prince George have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 uncertainty 🥎 Economic impact was set to be an estimated $3.5M in welcoming over 80 teams to the city | #CityOfPG @nativesportspg @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/MSvLhaNtXY— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) May 8, 2020
The 46th edition would’ve been the fourth time the national tournament took place in Prince George, having hosted the event in 1994, 2004 and 2016.
“Our past performance certainly had a big impact on our bid this time around,” said Desjarlais when the city was officially granted the CNFCs in December.
“Everybody is very aware of the facilities and everybody is also very aware of the partnership we have in the community, and this event is really perfect for a city this size. It tends to get lost in places like Winnipeg or Edmonton, whereas here it has a big, significant impact on the community.”
Prince George’s host team, the Big Guy Lake Kings, finished seventh at the 2019 national championships in Grande Prairie, Alta.
The CNFC was originally scheduled for July 31 to Aug. 3.
Dates for 2021 have yet to be determined.