Sunday, 3 May 2015

Williams Lake to join the KIJHL ?

First A little Sunday AM thirty something year history lesson.

In the 1980's the Williams Lake Mustangs were part of the PCJHL (Peace Cariboo) Junior A circuit who's league Champion played off against the BCJHL Champion for the  BC Jr A hockey Championship.

Then in 1991 the PCJHL joined up with several teams in the South to form the RMJHL (Rocky Mountain) Jr "A" league who were in competition with the still intact BCJHL. The RMJHL featured several teams who  KIJHL fans will be familiar with, Fernie, Kimberley, Creston, Nelson and Castlegar all played in the RMJHL as did Trail and Cranbrook who each had storied KIJHL histories

Then in 1996 the BCJHL who are now called the BCHL, and who didn't like the competition for players, took in Trail Prince George and Quesnel and that killed off the Peace Cariboo division, and in a few short years... the RMJHL as well.

Williams Lake was not part of the new BCHL and had no hockey until 2002 when they joined the BCHL for a few seasons calling themselves the Timberwolves They lasted five years before going bankrupt in 2010 and they haven't had hockey since. Their relatives in Quesnel lasted until 2011 before they also found out the BCHL was a rich man's league.

So here we are, two big hockey towns without hockey and Williams Lake has an eye on the KIJHL, and you can be absolutely certain Quesnel is looking as well.

Observations from afar

So the big question is will they buy an existing team like 100 Mile did when they bought Pentiction (There are more than a few KI teams out there who are struggling at the gate) or will they buy a new franchise at ... last I heard...  $150,000.

 Either way it's going to get harder to win in the KIJHL with bigger and bigger centres joining up in the last few seasons. Personally I hope they get an existing team so as to not water down the league any more than it is.  Every season we have a few teams who don't seem to be able to recruit enough good players to compete, adding two new teams in  big centres won't help. And yes, it could happen surprisingly fast.

Anyway, Below is a story that was circulating on Twitter Sunday AM. With a link to the WL Facebook page.

Management team announces intentions to bring junior B hockey to lakecity

April 23, 2015 · Updated 5:25 PM
The chance of a junior B team coming to Williams Lake became much more of a possibility Thursday following an announcement made on Facebook.
Rob Sandrock — a professional hockey player born and raised in Williams Lake with more than 16 years of pro experience — revealed he's been managing the page, "Williams Lake Jr. B Hockey," and said he's formed a management team with Total Ice Training Centre's Tyrel Lucas and Speedy Petey's Car Wash and Lube's Ryan Bailey about bringing a team to the lakecity.
"[This group] has the knowledge and experience to succeed," Sandrock said via the announcement. "Tyrel has been developing hockey players for the past seven years and with his facility will give junior players the training and instruction that other teams can only dream of.
"Ryan … a well-established accountant and brings a wealth of business knowledge to our group."
Sandrock, who has a masters degree in sport management, said the trio has a deeply-rooted passion for the game, Williams Lake and the next generation of hockey players.
"We are here to bring an entertainment option to Williams Lake while providing local hockey players the opportunity to stay and play in their hometown and create positive role models for our younger youth," Sandrock said.
"While we may be the driving force trying to bring a team to Williams Lake it will be your team, Williams Lake's team and will be treated as such. Without you, we will not be successful. With you, we can create something the whole city can be proud of, to call theirs and to be a part of."
Sandrock said the management team will be arranging an information forum in the near future to create an opportunity to answer any questions from the public.
Until then, he said he can be reached with questions and comments at, or on his Facebook page, "Williams Lake Jr. B Hockey."

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