Room shortage a concern for sports teams

No room at the inn

November 20, 2023, 9:35 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Aerial photo of Moosomin.

Sports teams visiting Moosomin for tournaments are having a tough time finding a place to stay in town, leading to frustration for event organizers.

Jamie McMullan, president of Moosomin Minor Hockey, doesn’t recall having such a struggle to book rooms as this season seems to present.

“I understand that the hotels are busy, too,” he said. “Hotels are busy with work going on with the mine and stuff, but I know that’s not the only factor.”

He also noted running into issues with trying to reserve a block of rooms.

“I know that we have called about blocking rooms from a hotel and they’ve told us no,” McMullan said. “We’ve gone and called about individual rooms and people are able to get rooms.”

Even with advance planning, reserving blocks of rooms just doesn’t seem to work.

“We’ve had our U11 Badgers tournaments, which we did lots of pre-planning for and tried to get in. It was going to be an end of season tournament in March, and then we tried to book hotel rooms they told us no,” he explained.

The seeming inability to secure rooms in advance has meant missing out on hosting large tournaments in other sports as well.

“When we apply, there’s an expected level of hotel rooms,” said Mike Schwean, Director of Parks and Recreation with the Town of Moosomin regarding making applications to host large-scale events. If the rooms aren’t available, applying to host such functions just isn’t in the cards.

With recreation facilities that are the envy of many other communities—in part due to strong corporate contributions—a certain onus to host larger events is felt.

“We made a very definitive point to become a destination place where we would host events,” Schwean said.

An economic impact study conducted during COVID found the return to the community from recreation facilities and events was in the neighbourhood of $18 million. Attracting teams and their following entourage from hours away translates to longer-term stays plus more money spent in local businesses.

“We understand the value that those weekends play in the community,” Schwean said. “But we can’t host them without the hotel space.”

Others say there are rooms available, however schedules don’t always align for when events take place.

“In general, there is not a shortage of hotel rooms,” said Kim Hogg, General Manager at the Moosomin Motel 6. “Right now, with all the work crews that are in town, then yes, it does cause an issue with with hockey tournament season.”

She said the local hotels are busy and full at the moment but doesn’t know if that will continue.

“Right now, the three hotels are busy and they’re full, but what happens when it slows down? We do get a lot of transient workers in town, so when that goes down, or if the construction stops, then do we need those extra rooms?”

Nutrien has said the current level of capital spending at Nutrien Rocanville should continue for the next five years.