WATCH: Bringing the community together through hockey is the aim of Show Hometown Spirit, an initiative launched in Lethbridge on Tuesday to support the upcoming U Sports Cavendish Farms University Cup. Demi Knight has more.

Lethbridge is gearing up to host the 2019 U-Sports Men’s Hockey National Championships for the first time this March.

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With just 10 days until the competition skates into the city, seven local organizations have come together to announce a Show Hometown Spirit initiative on Tuesday.

“We want all residents in southern Alberta and Lethbridge to get involved, as well as businesses, to show our love for the game,” said Shilpa Stocker, project manager for the Lethbridge Lodging Association.

Tourism Lethbridge, the Downtown Lethbridge Business Revitalization Zone and Heart of Our City launched two competitions on Tuesday that asked residents to share what hockey means to them as part of an online contest, encouraging stores to get in on the initiative, too.

“We want them to wear their favourite hockey team jerseys and decorate their storefronts and decorate their reception areas,” Ted Stilson, executive director of the Downtown BRZ said.

The online contest offers three prizes worth more than $725 each and is open to the public starting March 4. The contest can be entered online through the Visit Lethbridge website.

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However, those aren’t the only initiatives underway in the city. The Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce is also asking businesses to celebrate the community by displaying banners that read “Welcome Rogers Hometown Hockey” and “Welcome Men’s National Hockey championship” throughout the duration of the competition.

The Lethbridge Sport Council and Tourism Lethbridge will also be holding an on-site event at the ENMAX Centre on March 15.

Excited for the opportunity to bring the championships back to western Canada for the first time since 2014, officials said an event of this calibre will have positive economic impacts on the city.

They also hope that getting the community involved will help drive more traffic to the downtown area during the event.

“With seven teams from out of town coming in for these championships, that’s a major boom in terms of economic impact. Our hotels are filling up, and all those people will be at restaurants and lounges before or after the games,” Stocker said.

The U Sports Hockey Championship gets underway at the ENMAX Centre on March 14.

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