Looking for a sporty getaway? Kamloops knocks it out of the park with state-of-the-art sports facilities and an international reputation as an excellent host city. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to enjoy Canada's Tournament Capital though, as there are plenty of sports teams to cheer on from the sidelines during your visit.
Turning into a tournament capital
Pre-COVID, the city was hosting more than 100 tournaments a year. Kamloops earned its place on the sporting map back in the 1990s with the opening of the Riverside Coliseum (1992), which is now called the Sandman Centre and is home to the Kamloops Blazers hockey team. The 1993 Canada Summer Games brought teams here from across the country and when the $37 million Tournament Capital Centre opened in 2006 it cemented Kamloops’ reputation as the Tournament Capital of Canada. More recent renovations of sports facilities such as the extensive McArthur Island Park and Exhibition Park have also made Kamloops ready to welcome (back) tournaments.
Catch rising stars
If you’re not in town during a tournament there are plenty of other places you can catch live sports and support local teams. Thompson River University’s Wolfpack is made up of teams that excel in sports such as volleyball, basketball, and soccer and you can catch varsity and sports clubs playing in places such as the Tournament Capital Centre next to the TRU campus.
Get behind the Blazers
Let’s go, Blazers! This junior hockey club is a Kamloops institution that came to the city as the Junior Oilers in 1981, before being renamed the Blazers in 1984. Community-owned for 24 years, the team was bought in 2007 by Tom Gaglardi and a group of former Blazer greats such as: Shane Doan, Mark Recchi, Darryl Sydor, and Jarome Iginla. Playing out of the Sandman Centre between October and April, the team is a member of the Western Hockey League and has sent many players into the National Hockey League. The Blazers became iconic in the 1990s for winning three Memorial Cups ( ‘92, ‘94, & ‘95) and currently, they are three-time defending BC Division Champions.
Kick back at a soccer game
It’s an exciting time for sports fans, with two new teams taking to the baseball and soccer fields this summer. Ultra fan of football (aka soccer)? Make seeing Rivers FC your goal while you’re in town. Named after the North Thompson River and South Thompson River, the Football Club embodies a local love of sports. May 2022 heralds the start of a new semi-professional soccer league called League1 BC that Rivers FC, a newly formed soccer club, will be playing in with six other clubs in the province. Playing at TRU's Hillside Stadium and McArthur Island Park between May and August, Rivers FC includes male and female teams and shares coaches and players with TRU Wolfpack to foster a continuous pathway for young players.
Soak up the sun at the stadium
Kamloops has hit a home run with the launch of the Kamloops NorthPaws. The city’s newest baseball team was established in 2020 (but delayed by the pandemic). Owned by Neal Perry, Norman Daley, and Jon Pankuch, the team is part of the West Coast League that provides both NCAA and NAIA players with a chance to develop their skills over a three-month summer period in order to increase their draft chances. Even non-sports fans can enjoy the NorthPaws in McArthur Island Park with plenty of food and beverage options, live music, and a sunny summer spot to hang out with friends and family and catch a game at the internationally renowned, Norbrock Stadium!
And in case you didn't know... Kamloops will be host to the Canada 55+ Games in summer 2022 where folks can catch the live action at various venues in Kamloops. From August 23-26, Canada's best competitors will come from across the nation for the large multi-sport games to compete in 26 official events.
Whether you’re super into live sports, or just enjoying soaking up the atmosphere, there’s a team and tournament to enjoy in Kamloops. Check out our list of sporting facilities where you can work up a sweat in the city, too.