In March 2020, organizer Randy West-Pratt held the board which was to be used to tally the numbers of a Chase the Ace. However, the lottery never took place last year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
NNSL file photo

Over a year ago, the most recent licence was awarded to run a Chase the Ace in Hay River.

However, the group that obtained that licence – a partnership between the Hay River Golf Club and the Hay River Ski Club – never got to stage a Chase the Ace because of Covid-19. The group voluntarily suspended operations on March 13, 2020, before it had ever made any sales.

The licence, which was good for one year, expired in mid-March, according to Randy West-Pratt, secretary of the golf club and an organizer of Chase the Ace.

“We have made a new application to the town to be awarded the licence again,” he said, noting that application was submitted in mid-March.

West-Pratt recognizes that the right to the licence is now open for other applications.

“We’re by no means guaranteed just because we didn’t operate last year to get it again,” he said. “We’ll be competing with anyone else who applies.”

However, West-Pratt hopes that the two clubs will be successful in obtaining a licence once again.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We’ve still got the same funding requirements that we had before.”

That includes the need for a new roof, washroom repairs and updated equipment at the golf club.

The ski club also has funding needs, said West-Pratt.

“They’ve gone ahead with some of their projects because they brought whatever funding they have of their own, but they’ve still got lots of things that they’re working on improving and rebuilding, and there’s always ongoing needs.”

Plus, he noted there are other grounds and facilities expenses shared by the two clubs.

West-Pratt said the new application to the town involves in-person sales of tickets.

Plus, organizers are also looking into the possibility of doing online sales.

West-Pratt noted that, in the application, he listed Friday, April 16, as a possible starting date for Chase the Ace, simply because he had to pick a date.

However, he does not know when or if the town may award a new licence.

West-Pratt believes that some limited sales could take place within the Covid-19 restrictions of the GNWT, which would include controlling the size of crowds, sanitation and keeping track of people purchasing tickets for possible contact tracing at a later date.

When contacted late last week, Glenn Smith, the senior administrative officer with the Town of Hay River, could offer no update on the status of the Chase the Ace application process.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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