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Event History This annual event which gathers employees & their families in an atmosphere that encourages guests to have fun while socializing with their co-workers, had its twists and turns. Because of the recent merger of corporate head office with its satellite companies, we received all guest lists in hard copy (total of 5 lists), sorted by department for each company. For example, when Mr. & Mrs. Smith approached the registration desk, we had to scan through 5 company lists by department to locate their name.

The reason for this was that the merger was so fresh that all companies were still operating individually and not yet jointly as one company. It was extremely stressful, line ups were long and some people were indeed grumpy!

Event Objectives
The objective of the event was to allow for old and new colleagues to socialize with one another, and get to know each other while having fun. We were asked to provide activities which were unstructured and could accommodate 200 guests at one time. We incorporated a Winter Carnival theme complete with carnival games, prizes, and clowns. We also offered Bouncy Castles, Human Bowling, Virtual Snowboarding and Winter Crafts on the concourse level, as well as ice-skating on the lower level.

Event Challenges
The first challenge that we encountered were the strict rules of Rogers Arena. Only 200 people are allowed to skate on the ice at one time and everyone that steps foot on the ice must sign a waiver. We had to design a method to control the number of people on the ice, as well as monitor who had or had not signed the mandatory waiver. We decided to have 5 one-hour skating blocks with different colored tickets signifying the skate times. Once guests registered, they were then sent to the waiver table to sign in all family members who would be skating. When they had all signed the waiver, our staff then gave the family their color-coded skating tickets. If someone showed up down at ice level without a colored ticket, Orca Bay staff knew that the waiver had not been signed.

Another challenge we encountered was that 2 days before the event the Canucks decided to hold an emergency practice (due to their recent losing streak!). Because of the short notice, there wasn’t enough time to inform all guests of the impact the practice would have on the skating times. We did manage to distribute a notice informing all guests that the doors would be open half an hour earlier than originally scheduled, so that people could come and watch the practice. We lost 2 hours of our 5-hour skating schedule and knew that many guests would be upset at not being able to skate at the time they originally thought they could. To compensate for the confusion, we set up an information table that would inform guests of the changes to the scheduled skating times and answer any questions or complaints that they had. Because of the outstanding coordination and planning, our staff was able to assist guests and inform them of skating monitors on the ice who would allow guests to skate in advance of their time when at all possible.

Event Process
Given the amount of people expected to attend the event, we decided to utilize the entire concourse level of Rogers Arena. The challenge in doing that was to decide where to have the entertainers perform their shows when guests would be constantly circulating the concourse. We requested that the performers wander the concourse before their performance began and choose a spot where there was a constant crowd. The performers really enjoyed having free rein as they felt the audiences enjoyed them a lot more than being committed to a particular area and performance at one given time. The performers had fun playing with the crowd and it really it showed!

While doing our site inspection, we saw that there were the varying heights of the ceiling on the concourse level. In some areas the ceiling was only 10 feet high, while in other sections, we had 14 -16 foot ceilings. We really had to pre-plan our floor plan and the types of inflatables and activities that we could install into Rogers Arena. A few on-site adjustments were made the day of the event, but quick thinking by our staff and suppliers made the changes unnoticeable.

Event Summary
This event was logistically outstanding for several reasons as noted above. We were aware of our client’s requests and accommodated last minute changes to ensure that the event ran perfectly. In the end, everyone who wanted to skate did indeed get an opportunity to skate and some even got to pose with Canucks! For an event experience like this, contact us today.


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