With one year to go before the July 13, 2006, opening of London's world field lacrosse championships, you can bet co-chair Tim Hobbs and the host committee won't be lazily mailing in their efforts to put on the event.
That is, unless you count the Canada Post commemorative stamp due to debut a few weeks before the start of the international tournament. The yet-to-be-designed championship stamp, which was approved recently by the national stamp advisory council, will have a print run of eight to 10 million, will be sold everywhere across Canada and will cost 51 cents after a postal penny price hike in January.
The advisory council routinely receives about 300 applications a year and approved 21 commemorative stamp themes for 2006. The stamp for the world lacrosse tournament in July and one for February's Olympic Winter Games are the only sporting event-related stamps on tap next year.
"It's great for London and the championships -- we still refer to stamp collecting as the biggest hobby in the world," said Tom Dalby, manager of communications for Canada Post's Huron-Rideau regional office in London.
"There's a tendering process to artists for the design of the stamp so it will be some time before we know what it's going to look like."
Right now, it looks like the London lacrosse committee has its marketing machine almost fully assembled. Western grad Brad Watters, a former president of the Canadian Football League's Ottawa Renegades and a co-owner of the successful Toronto Rock pro lacrosse franchise, will play a role in organizing the event.
There have also been talks to bring a Rock exhibition game, likely against the Rochester Knighthawks, to the John Labatt Centre in December to help promote the championships.
"We're going to be doing everything we can to raise awareness but we're pretty happy with the interest in the event so far," Hobbs said. "We've been getting calls from the U.S. from people who want to come up next July for the tournament. We're going to have Brad Watters, who put on the (2004) Grey Cup in Ottawa. We're going to build off what happened at the Memorial Cup this year. We're looking at why the NCAA, which set attendance records for lacrosse this year, is the best at marketing its product."
Call (519) 679-2006 or visit the event website at www.2006worldlacrosse.com