Hospitality industry in Moncton, Halifax hope to have enough staff for World Juniors

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick hospitality industry hopeful after World Juniors announcement' New Brunswick hospitality industry hopeful after World Juniors announcement
The World Juniors are coming back to the Maritimes almost 20 years after Halifax hosted them in 2003. This time around, Moncton and Halifax are sharing hosting duties after beating out several other joint bids. And as Suzanne Lapointe reports, the hospitality industry is hopeful this will help them recover from two very difficult years. – May 6, 2022

David Saldanha, general manager of Moncton’s Avenir Centre, is thrilled the venue will host what he believes will be “one of (their) absolute top events” when the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships come to the city.

On Thursday, Hockey Canada announced that Moncton and Halifax will be the two host cities for the tournament, which will be played from Dec. 26, 2022 to Jan. 5, 2023, at Moncton’s Avenir Centre and Halifax’s Scotiabank Centre.

It will be the largest event to date put on at the Avenir Centre, a $113-million entertainment venue opened in September 2018, roughly a year and a half before the pandemic pumped the brakes on in-person events.

Read more: Halifax, Moncton named hosts for 2023 world junior hockey championships

John Wishart, CEO of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce, said he thinks Thursday’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time after the economic toll of the pandemic on downtown businesses.

Story continues below advertisement

“We really do think this will have a significant economic benefit to the community. Hotel rooms, restaurants will be full, bars, suppliers to the event…” he said on Friday.

He believes hotels and restaurants need to act now to address the hospitality industry’s persistent staffing shortages.

“That’s one of the things we really need to dig into right away,” he said.

“We only have about seven months to get our plan together because it’s sooner than we thought. I think there needs to be a plan to address making sure we have as many hotel rooms, as many restaurants fully staffed during that period. ”

Read more: ‘There just hasn’t been anybody’: N.B. restaurant struggling to attract staff

Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia executive director Gordon Stewart fondly remembers how much extra traffic restaurants saw when Halifax hosted the World Juniors in 2003.

“We were busy. Every kind of restaurant from fast food to fine dining, it was day and night. It was just good for business overall,” he said in an interview on Friday.

While he is concerned about the staffing shortages, he doesn’t believe it’s possible to hire more people in advance.

Story continues below advertisement

“We’re picking up staff one person at a time. It would be great if there was a pool that we could jump into and say, ‘OK, we’re going to hire 500 over the next three weeks, that’s not going to be there,'” he said.

He is optimistic that the timing of the games, which will be held from December 26th 2022 to January 5th 2023, could work in the local restaurant industry’s favour.

“A lot of people would be available. That will give us one little advantage: that the part-timers  or people not working or students will have more availability and work more hours.” he said, noting both Moncton and Halifax have a large university student population to draw from.

Click to play video: 'Halifax, Moncton named hosts for 2023 world junior hockey championships' Halifax, Moncton named hosts for 2023 world junior hockey championships
Halifax, Moncton named hosts for 2023 world junior hockey championships – May 5, 2022

Sponsored content