The West Michigan Sports Commission received a Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism award from Sports Destination Management magazine for its USA Hockey 2021 Chipotle Youth National Championship (Youth Tier II 16U) held April 29 – May 3, 2021 in the Grand Rapids area. Sports Destination Management, a leading national sports trade publication with the largest circulation of sports event planners and tournament directors in the sports tourism market, presented this award to 20 organizations for events in 2020 and 26 organizations for events in 2021, with the WMSC as one of 13 winners in the mid-market category for 2021 for successfully hosting this USA Hockey tournament. The WMSC and fellow award winners are recognized in a special feature in the November/ December 2021 issue of Sports Destination Management.
Only the second USA Hockey national championship in Grand Rapids, this was one of the region’s first large tourism events since COVID and one of its largest national sports events in 2021 – attracting 640 athletes on 32 teams from 30 states plus 800 spectators and filling 2,586 room nights at 19 partner hotels. The event generated $1.9 million in visitor spending for West Michigan. Despite COVID-19 challenges, it was a safe and successful event for USA Hockey, the national governing body for ice hockey.