The popularity continues to grow, especially in the small town who are excited when a Junior team makes a stop for something as simple as a practice, while on route for an upcoming game.
Junior hockey is and can be expensive for the “fan experience” they spend their hard earned dollar on and it’s with this in mind that the teams MUST understand the importance of making them feel part of the overall experience.
This past summer saw the re-location of the Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg, becoming the Winnipeg Ice in the East Division of the WHL.
Hockey is an expensive sport to play only adding the additional burden of cost for the parents who all have this “pipe dream” of their Son making it to the pro level of the game, but don’t sell yourself short.
The number of young up and coming future stars continues to diminish with a sport that is becoming watered down so that only those with money can afford to play.
Junior clubs have scouts that have their sights set on the next super star that will become the name of the franchise, team or league – but at what cost?
In the Province of BC the main product that many want to play in is the Britich Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) consisting of 17 teams – until NOW.
A press release earlier in the day sees the league grow to 18 with the newly expansion team in the City of Cranbrook, home of the former Senior AAA Cranbrook Royals who had success winning the Allan Cup in 1982 over the Petrolia Squires.
In an earlier press release sent out from the BCHL they made it official by announcing the city of Cranbrook has been awarded an expansion franchise becoming the leagues 18th team.
They will be officials called the Cranbrook Bucks will officially start play in the 2020-21 season, playing in the Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.
BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb mentioned “We are pleased to add Cranbrook as the 18th member of the BC Hockey League and the city already has a rich hockey history and we are excited to see them add to that legacy and bring BCHL hockey to another great community in our province.”
The new franchise are under the leadership of Majority Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen who played pro as a goaltender for five (5) seasons in the AHL and ECHL.
He was a member of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013-14 season for seven games and was also a member of the BCHL in 2007-08 with the Westside Warriors playing in 11 games.
He (Lieuwen) mentioned “We are extremely excited to bring a BCHL franchise to Cranbrook and the East Kootenay and the Cranbrook Bucks Hockey Club look forward to being a proud member of the Cranbrook community and surrounding areas for many years to come. We are grateful for all parties involved in bringing the BCHL to Cranbrook and we can’t wait for the puck to drop for the 2020-21 season.”
Lee Pratt, Mayor of the City of Cranbrook mentions “Having a BCHL franchise showcasing an exciting brand of hockey will be a great addition to the economic well-being of the City.”
He continues “Nathan and his group, along with City staff have worked closely together these last few months to bring this great entertainment to the citizens at an affordable price. We welcome the Bucks to Cranbrook and look forward to many years of exciting hockey.”
The addition of the Bucks will force a realignment of the BCHL divisions which will be announced in the upcoming months.
If you are looking for more information, visit their website by October 11th at www.cranbrookbucks.ca.