The best female softball players on the planet may once again be coming to Surrey's Softball City.
Softball Canada announced Monday that Surrey has been selected as this country's bid city to land the 2016 International Softball Federation (ISF) Women's World Championships.
"We are carrying the torch on behalf of Canada and we are taking it very seriously," said Greg Timm, chair of the Surrey bid committee. "We are not in this to lose. Because of Canada's reputation in the world having Softball Canada's backing is important but just as important is the reputation we've built here in Surrey for our ability to host world class softball events. We're well known in the international softball community and I think we're seen as a safe choice."
Surrey made its name as a host city for international women's softball with the annual Canada Cup tournaments that groomed a generation of Canadian players for Olympic competition.
When women's softball lost its Olympic status after the 2008 Beijing Games, international softball continued at Softball City in the form of the Canadian Open invitational tourney.
Timm said the Surrey organizers have been working on the bid for the past two years after changes to the International Softball Federation's tournament structure and financing make a bid feasible.
The Surrey organizing committee won't know who they are bidding against until June when official bid documents must be filed. Many countries like to keep their bid plans secret until the last day bid documents are due.
To counter this, the Canadian effort is making its intentions known early, gambling it will scare off some pretenders and will drum up support among nations who know how well Surrey can stage an event like this.
The Surrey bid delegation will travel to Colombia in October to make a final pitch to delegates at the International Softball Federation congress.
"What's pertinent for our bid is countries like Surrey and they love coming here," Timm said. "They feel like they're coming to their second home in softball because we have so much local support. Teams are comfortable here plus we have delivered on every promise we've made to visiting teams and that's important because when you're dealing with some countries, that's not always the case."
Canada is no stranger to hosting the women's softball worlds as the event has made previous stops in the great white north in 1994 (Newfoundland), 2002 (Saskatoon) and 2012 (Whitehorse). Timm admitted familiarity may be a curse in the eyes of some voters but be believes Surrey's strengths will outweigh any thoughts that it's time for someone else to host it.
"We know that will be seen as a drawback and may create some voter fatigue for some delegates to vote for Canada again," he said. "We have to promote the strengths of our host committee rather than just saying, 'Come to Canada.'"