Here is what Insidefoos sent out after attending our tournament at West Edmonton Mall, this is some great praise that makes doing this job seem worth while:
Inside Foos Productions traveled north of the border for the first time ever this past April 15-17, as promoter Will Stranks and edmontonfoosball.com presented the 2011 Alberta Provincial Championships. Will and his hard working team welcomed us with open arms and proceeded to do all they could to put on a fun-filled and competitive event, while showcasing the sport to on-site spectators and live streaming viewers in a truly first class manner.
And what an amazing foosball show it was! This fun and well-run tournament, which was attended by more than 90 of western Canada's best foosers, was held at the spectacular West Edmonton Mall, North America's largest indoor shopping center. The gigantic mall housed an amusement park (with roller-coaster), a water park, ice rink, 100's of shops and restaurants, two large hotels and much, much more! It would take a week to see everything! But if I was hungry I had 50 different choices within a five minute walk of the tournament site. If I needed clothes, shoes, batteries, CDs, a chocolate chip cookie or a ride on a water slide it was all within short walking distance. I've been to a lot of malls but nothing like this!
The West Edmonton Mall was also the perfect location for a Foosball event, with a superb playing environment offering first-rate exposure for the sport of Foosball. There was a spacious and attractive playing area in the middle of the open mall, big screen TVs showing both the live Inside Foos video feed and recordings of past events, and great viewing for anyone wanting to watch the top-notch Foosball being played in the finals area. Hundreds of mall visitors stopped in to view the action (many of them of course surprised that there was something such as "pro foosball"), while also taking the opportunity to test their Foosball skills on tables specifically designated for "walk-up" traffic. As most of you know, I've covered events for almost 20 years across the USA and in Europe and this was definitely one of the finest Foosball tournament locations that I have ever had the privilege of working.
The tournament itself also offered an entertaining product with western Canada's finest foosers putting on an excellent show of skill. Tournament host Will Stranks teamed with unofficial tournament MVP Matthew Botros of Calgary to win the Open Doubles title, defeating Vancouver's Tuan Phan and Craig Williams in the final. In Open Singles, the excitable Joe Ramjag vociferously played his way to the title, defeating Botros in an entertaining finals performance that was heard throughout the colossal shopping center. Victoria's Eric Dunn finished third in singles, with Eric Goodman and Tim Wilson taking third place honors in Open Doubles.
Other 2011 Alberta Provincial champions included Linda Ly of Calgary, who won three events, including Women's Singles and Mixed Doubles with Darrel Popowich, and the talented Christian Dunn, who earned two titles in Edmonton, with wins in Forward Shootout and the Open DYP, with Chris Gallant.
Promoter (and new Canadian Federation President) Will Stranks says that this event is part of an energetic promotional program that is focused on localized growth, with attention also being given to organized national events, all designed to help promote the sport of Foosball to a wider audience. His efforts seem to be paying off, with a solid number of younger players in attendance at the Edmonton event competing in the junior categories and entry level events. His promotional diligence is also resulting in a growing player base, with new players joining his local program on a regular basis. The Provincial Championships were also brought to the attention of the local media with coverage from both TV and newspaper outlets (with Stranks on the cover of the local paper!), another necessary element to any successful table soccer event.
Stranks and his solid and enthusiastic staff are also to commended for handling the event in a professional, friendly manner that insured that everyone in attendance had a fun and memorable experience. The job they did in promoting and running the event should be a template for Foosball promoters everywhere. Contact your local malls promoters!
I, personally, had a great time at the big mall in Edmonton and have just one more thing to say regarding this outstanding event...keep up the good work Will!