700 Calgarians to help at the world juniors

When the world junior hockey championships hit Calgary on Boxing Day, there will be more than just the fans and players filling the rink.

 Hundreds of volunteers will work in the Saddledome over the 10 days of competition.

They are each expected to put in about 30 hours of volunteer time working jobs from selling 50/50 tickets to helping with the onsite medical team.

“(Volunteers) are the backbone of putting these large international events on,” said Jenna Karpoff, events and services manager at Hockey Canada.

“They’re the ones that have the great spirit that bring everything together in all these tournaments. They’re the key that fits into the puzzle.”

Karpoff adds that around 1,800 people applied online to be volunteers. 700 people were chosen to work in Calgary and another 400 more for the games in Edmonton.

After being chosen, volunteers each had to pay a $50 registration fee to cover a criminal record check and the cost of uniforms.

All of the volunteers live in or around Calgary and Edmonton, said Karpoff. International volunteers are usually not chosen, she added, because they try to give people who live in the area of the tournament a chance to participate.

Fans of the games watching from couches around the world may not even realize the work volunteers will do for the international media descending on our city.

“The best way to describe the role is to ensure that the media have everything they need to do the job successfully,” said Chris Jurewicz, a volunteer media coach for the event.

Jurewicz, who is also the media co-ordinator for the Calgary Stampeders, says he will be leading a team of 45 volunteers to run audio and visual technologies, update social media and input stat sheets. They will be the ones who make sure the 300 accredited journalists expected to cover the tournament are well equipped to report on the highlights to international audiences.


Volunteers are a big part of producing a tournament like the world juniors, say officials.
Photo by: HHOF/IIHF Images

“When I first heard that Calgary had gotten the bid for the World Juniors, I was really excited,” said Brennan, an administrative assistant at Canada Safeway.

“I think it’s a whole event that takes place that most of Canada gets excited about. So I went out and talked to a few people to see if I could get involved.

“I absolutely love working with the people and the volunteers.”

Brennan was also on the organizing committee for the 2009 Grey Cup and has also volunteered for the two past Tim Hortons Briers.

Originally from the United States, Brennan says she will nonetheless be cheering loud and proud for the red and white.

Her main job for the world juniors is to ensure that each volunteer is matched to a job they would excel at based on previous volunteer or workforce experience.

“Not only are they going to be excited about that area but they are also going to be extremely helpful,” she said.

“They are just so excited to be able to help and to get to do something like this.

“And you meet so many great people that if you sat on the couch you wouldn’t get to meet.”

llushington@cjournal.ca