UA-74833448-1 PJHL Expansion Whalers –

PJHL Expansion Whalers

It may have taken some time, but finally the Pacific Junior B Hockey League welcomed their newest Franchise the White Rock Whalers to the league.

Home games will be played at White Rock Centennial Arena and for the home opener they pulled out all the stops having over 750 fans thirsting for exciting Junior B hockey in their backyard.

Other than the BCHL Surrey Eagles in the area this new franchise is the first to return to play at Centennial Arena dating back to the early 1980,s, ironically also being named the Whalers and were in the BCJHL, but this was a Junior A club.

The latest addition to the PJHL is owned (so we are told) and operated by Mr. Ronnie Paterson who lists himself as both the President and Governor.

Also in attendance was Miss White Rock and her Princess and Friendship Ambassador Emma Rose and Youth Ambassadors Sabrina Zeng, Simrit Kucher and Sara Zhang who were all chatting with several hockey fans in attendance as well as lining up for the opening faceoff.

The game saw them play host to the Richmond Sockeyes in the inaugural game that had an excellent feel also bringing in a local band called Big BackYard and Company who played in the crowded lobby that also featured the ever popular beer garden.

Game announcer was NHL play by play man Jim Hughson of Hockey Night in Canada fame as well as WHL/NHL Hartford Whaler and NHL Color Person John Garrett who dropped the ceremonial puck and I am told also purchased a Whaler “Toque” to help support the team.

White Rock’s Mark Donnelly Anthem singer and Vancouver Canucks singer for home games performed the National Anthem for a fitting touch and I hear that Mark is set to run for the Conservative Party nomination.

He recently told me “I believe our Federal Government is running a tad off kilter so I have thrown my name in the political ring.”

The game was extremely entertaining for everyone who packed the the rink with many standing three rows deep off the glass.

The whalers opened the scoring with Calder Newson scoring the first goal for the expansion record book at 12:55 of the opening period marking the clubs historic first goal giving them a 1-0 lead.

Richmond managed to get the equalizer before the period was over as Craig Schouten evened the game at one heading to the intermission.

Richmond jumped to the lead in the second period with Brice Kemp put them a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes and extended the lead on the Whalers in the third to a four to one score.

The Whalers fought back managing to cut their lead to 4-2 in the third as Logan Weber making things interesting and scoring in the final minute was Saul Khalifa who scored with 11.9 seconds remaining making it 4-3, but it was too little too late for the Whalers on this night.

In total 98 shots were fired by both teams, each trading 49 each team on the night and despite the loss, the Whalers came out huge winners – now let’s see if they can keep it rolling?

Thanks to Bruce Nolte for covering the game and sending in a report.