MEDICINE HAT, AB — Wrestling fans and staff with Canalta Centre were disappointed, hearing the WWE Live show set for next month would be cancelled.
“People were excited, there was a buzz, so we were incredibly disappointed to get that news,” said general manager, Tammy Sweeney.
The Canalta Centre made the announcement on Thursday, news they say came from WWE tour management and was due to a routing issue.
“We had sold about 1,200 tickets, plus some suites as well, so 1,400 or so overall,” Sweeney said, adding some tickets had been given as Christmas presents.
This isn’t the first time an event at the Canalta Centre has been cancelled.
Bob Dylan announced a scheduling conflict shortly after tickets went on sale for his show back in 2017.
Since officially opening in 2015, few events have sold out.
“I mean, obviously I think everybody knows that I championed the new event centre,” said Mayor Ted Clugston, who remembers the controversy that came when the new area was first announced.
“We were under a lot of pressure back then from the WHL too because our arena was substandard in the WHL and wasn’t meeting their minimum requirements and it was time to reinvest in a new facility,” he said.
Clugston adds that without it, the city wouldn’t have seen a show like Crystal, Cirque du Soleil’s first ever on ice production.
The event brought in roughly $2.5 million and is Canalta’s most successful show to date.
“You have to recognize it’s a 40, 50, 60 year building,” said Clugston. “We are in the third year of operation.”
Clugston said the facility itself is running a deficit of around $1,000,000. That’s approximately $600,000 more than the old arena.
“Do I wish there were more events there? Absolutely, but it has been a bit of a perfect storm with the economy in Alberta, of course,” he said.
“You know what? When you go out for a night of live entertainment, it’s not perfect. There’s always going to be crowds. And yes, it costs money and sometimes you have to drive there and wait five or 10 minutes in the parking lot to get out.”
Sweeney said she’s focused on encouraging the community to come out for future events.
“If we sell a large number of tickets for an event, then I can guarantee you I’ll have someone on the phone the next day saying ‘hey, can I bring my show to Medicine Hat?’” she said.
Sweeney did say there’s an announcement planned for a family show, which will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
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