MARINETTE — Thanks to a pair of surveys conducted by officials with Marinette & Menominee Youth Hockey Association, the City of Marinette acquired further concrete and quantifiable data regarding the economic impact, benefits and potential of the Community Rec Center. 

At the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting Tuesday, MMYHA President Kevin Koch presented an outline of the data collected last spring at the State Hockey and Kohlman Cup tournaments. 

Taking advantage of two large scale hockey tournaments hosted by the MMYHA at the Rec Center, Koch explained that the association conducted surveys of participants and their families who came from outside the local area to attend the events. By narrowing the surveys to those living outside of Marinette, MMYHA officials used the data to gain a confident understanding of the amount of economic inflow such tournaments provide to the local community. 

One of the goals for collecting the survey data arose from Koch’s desire to assist the city in recovering some of the costs that go into operating and maintaining the Rec Center for hockey. Sustaining the ice, lights and the Zamboni comes with a significant price tag, Koch explained. 

“Anything that the MMYHA can do to work with the city to defray those costs, while at the same time maintaining reasonable MMYHA membership fees, is good,” Koch said. “If we can use outside dollars to help pay (those costs) I think the city and the association both win.”

Executive Recreation Director Gavin Scray commended the initiative that Koch and others showed in collecting and then parsing through the data.

“The hockey association took the initiative to conduct the surveys,” Scray pointed out. 

To that end, the data collected produced quantifiable measurements that can help the city and the MMYHA forecast for future events. 

In conducting the surveys, MMYHA officials needed to acquire a large enough sample size to produce statistically significant results, settling on the State Tournament and the Kohlman Cup. Results from the surveys showed – with a 95% confidence rate – that between the two tournaments, participants brought in approximately 152,292 outside dollars to the city of Marinette. Participants and their families spent the majority of those dollars on lodging in Marinette. Money spent at local restaurants and bars for food and drink followed closely. Gas and retail rounded out the economic inflow. 

Looking to the future, Koch and Scray see room to expand on those benefits. One way the city and the MMYHA are working together to reach that goal stems from tying in local events and festivals with hockey tournaments. 

Director of Tourism & Marketing Melissa Ebsch worked closely with Koch and others MMYHA officials to tie in a local festival this weekend with a hockey tournament. The Blues, Brews, BBQ & Hockey occurs Saturday, Oct. 12, 4-10 p.m. at the Community Rec Center. Koch and Ebsch hope to see similar tie-ins in the future to help promote everything that Marinette has to offer. 

“With time and proper scheduling, we believe that we can increase tournament size and amount,” Koch said. “If we can bring more people through the door, ultimately it will be a win for everyone.”

A calculated projection derived from the data produced by the surveys shows that in a typical hockey season, where MMYHA hosts eight tournaments at the Rec Center, the total influx of outside dollars could surpass $600,000.

The MMYHA continues to work on attracting additional tournaments to the area to raise that number. Moving forward, the association plans to continue conducting surveys to provide measurements that illuminate benefits and potential improvements that might stimulate local economy and assist the city when it comes to recovering the costs of hockey at the Rec Center.