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Hockey tournament projected to infuse $25 million in Great Lakes Bay Region economy

Front of Dow Event Center in Saginaw, MI
Weaponizing Architecture
Wikipedia Commons
The Dow Events Center in Saginaw will host 2024 Memorial Cup.

For the first time in 26 years, the Canadian Hockey League is hosting their Memorial Cup tournament in the United States. Hosted by the Saginaw Spirit, the cup is going to run at the Dow Event Center from May 24-June 2.

Jimmy Greene, the special events sales director for the Memorial Cup, said in an interview with WCMU that the cup is not only a tournament, but a memorial for all Canadians who gave their lives for the country.

"It's more than just a hockey tournament," Greene said. "There's a ton of economic development behind this. When you talk about the tournament and the thousands of people coming to watch, for our restaurants and retail operations in the Great Lakes bay area it's going to be significant."

The cup is projected to bring over 17,000 people to the region and $25 million in economic impact. It's also prompted significant upgrades to the Dow Event Center, including the addition of suites to the arena.

To help prepare for the boost in foot traffic, the Saginaw Economic Development Corporation recently launched a new program where businesses can apply for $5,000 loans to help prepare for the cup. These 12-36 month loans are to be used towards supplies and staffing for the ten-day event.

Kisha Smith, the economic development coordinator for the SEDC, said the goal of the loans is to elevate local small businesses and give them the tools needed to push them to the next level.

"The goal is to for individuals to have such a great experience here in Saginaw that they make it a memory," Smith said. "So, potentially maybe they will come back to visit the area at some point in time."

Event organizers told WCMU that the Memorial Cup is bigger than the Super Bowl in Canada.

Brianna Edgar is a newsroom intern covering the Tri-Cities for WCMU.