There are usually a few working components when it comes to pulling off a successful event, like planners, sponsors, and entire committees devoted to various areas of expertise.
Possibly the most important, though, are the people on the ground that take on tasks from accepting tickets to serving food or just making sure everything is running smoothly.
These people are called volunteers and at the RBC Cup, they are what volunteer coordinator Todd Kirkpatrick describes as “everything.”
“We’ve broken it into 16 areas but there are literally hundreds of tasks that need to get done,” Kirkpatrick said, explaining how organizers are coordinating the volunteers.
“Then one of the challenges of the committees is that during a game somebody’s got to do a certain task, but that’s once—like you need to open this door once—fine, but what does this person do with the rest of their time and how do you make it efficient?”
An example of this challenge is the volunteers who’ll be parking cars in the parking lot of the Civic Centre during the games.
Kirkpatrick said they take on the job of parking cars, but 10 minutes to game time all the cars will be parked, and committee members then have to find the valet a new task to make efficient use of that person’s time.
Lloydminster has a good reputation when it comes to volunteers and pulling off large scale events, though, and this reputation is something that helped the city in be chosen to host the RBC Cup in the first place.
“Exactly, and the story is once you’ve done an event like this, and several of them, it makes bid processes carry a little more weight, when the volunteer base has proven themselves,” Kirkpatrick said.
“And the bonus is we have a huge number of volunteers that have experience with this and so you look back and you’re very thankful at how well organized something like the last Allan Cup was or Hockey Day in Canada.”
He also said acquiring the volunteers was a smooth process, using a website Hockey Canada had set up for other events to bring people in.
Potential volunteers could access the site, enter their personal information, and then Kirkpatrick could request an updated spreadsheet with the all the volunteers on it.
“The intake was easy, the website part was straight forward and then we reached out through word of mouth through the Bobcats website,” he said.
“We ran programs at the home games to let people know to sign up, we reached out to Lloyd Minor Hockey, service clubs, and the committee itself mugged people they know.”