Sask. primer will be held on July 21
By Matthew Gourlie
The Canadian Premier League will be hosting a “Sask. Primer” public information session on July 21.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. at O’Hanlon’s Irish Pub in Regina on the eve of Soccer Day in Saskatchewan which will feature Spain’s Valencia meeting the NASL’s New York Cosmos at New Mosaic Stadium.
The information session will feature CPL project manager Paul Beirne along with Joe Belan and Lee Genier from the prospective Saskatchewan team’s ownership group.
The evening will have offer more details on the ownership group and the CPL’s vision for professional soccer in the province. There will be a panel discussion and a Q&A hosted by Rob Notenboom from the From The Black Hole podcast and founder of the Pile ’O Bones Supporters Group in Regina.
Belan spoke on behalf of the CPL ownership group during their presentation to the Canadian Soccer Association’s board of governors in Whistler, B.C. on May 6. There, the CPL was unanimously endorsed by the CSA at its annual general meeting.
Belan, 43, is the chairman and founder of Novatrek Capital, a corporate advisory and investment firm primarily focused on the industrial and metals and mining sectors.
On July 23, Belan tweeted from a “stadium due diligence trip” at Brita Arena in Wiesbaden, Germany. He added “One of these would look great in Saskatchewan” as a caption to a photo of Brita Arena and added the CanPL hashtag.
Visiting #Brita Stadium in Wiesbaden Germany today. One of these would look great in #Saskatchewan…#CanPL pic.twitter.com/aSsY2TI4RB
— Joe Belan (@JoeBelan) June 23, 2017
The St. Catherine’s, Ont. product is also a former Canadian youth international who played alongside Jason DeVos at the 1991 PanAm Games in Cuba. He also played in the 1992 CONCACAF under-20 championships.
Belan joined the Winnipeg Fury as a teenager and won the 1992 Canadian Soccer League title. They were the final CSL champions before the league folded. With his professional career in limbo, Belan earned a Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario and began a career as an investment banker.
Genier has publicly spoken about his interest in helping bring the CPL to the province.
In May, Genier told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix that the ownership group was looking to put a team in either Regina or Saskatoon and were looking at building an expandable 7,000 to 8,000-seat stadium.
Genier became the president of the Saskatchewan Rush box lacrosse team shortly after they moved to Saskatoon from Edmonton.
In Genier’s season as president, the Rush repeated as National Lacrosse League champions and were a stunning success at the gate, packing the SaskTel Centre and creating a lot of buzz in the province.
Genier spent 18 years working with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders where he was vice-president of business development before leaving the team in April of 2013. Genier was also vice-president of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton.