Month: April 2011

Team Is Langley Chiefs No More:

Here’s another article from Langley about the new ownership and new name for the Chiefs:

By Heather Colpitts, Langley Advance April 29, 2011 4:03 AM

The Langley Chiefs are now officially the Langley Rivermen.

The name change comes with a change of ownership, a deal now approved by the BCHL.

“We take over the team June 1,”Roy Henderson, one of the new owners, told the Langley Advance.

Henderson, 61, and his brother John, a 65-year-old accountant, own the franchise after receiving approval from the league and the league franchise committee.

Roy was a Philadelphia Flyers scout who has worked at various levels of sports and hockey organizations. He was GM of the Langley Thunder and hopes to bring some of that experience to the Rivermen, namely the close connection between the community and the team.

“It’s a community team,” he said. “We’ve got to get a better relationship with minor hockey. We’ve got to give just as much to the community as we take.”

That means working with other hockey groups in the community to watch and help develop talent.

“We’ve got to bring the right players in that will impress the community,” Henderson said. “We’re hoping to grab some kids right in the community.”

BCHL board of governors chair Darcy Rota said the league is pleased to welcome the new owners.

“We’re excited to add their passion for Junior A hockey to the BCHL, and I’m looking forward to hearing their ideas as new stakeholders in our league,” he said.

The Hendersons have been working on the improvements they plan for the team even before the final approval came through.

“We already went down and visted with Tourism Langley,” Roy said.

That was to find out all about the community events and groups. Roy said the team has to be more involved in the community, let its volunteers know how vital they are and have a better connection with sponsors.

“We’ve got to get more fans in the seats,” Roy added.

The Hendersons take ownership of the club from the previous group which included Moray Keith, Heinz Hasselman, coach Harvey Smyl and Jim Bond.

The sale could mean moves for the Hendersons, currently based in Chilliwack.

In addition to having been the Thunder GM and a Flyers scout, Roy has run Global Sports Scouting for about two decades in Chilliwack. He’s off to Chicago for hockey camps, where he will be looking for potential Rivermen talent.

The team already has its talent behind the bench but Roy would not disclose who is going to be the coach/GM.

The Rivermen will be looking to make hockey games more of an event that offers something for the whole family, such as kids activities.

“It’s not going to be just a hockey game,” Roy said.

Prospera Centre Owners Negotiating With Owners of BCHL’s Millionaires:

We’ve heard from the Quesnel side of things as it relates to the sale of the Millionaires, but now here’s the latest from the Chilliwack side:

By Tyler Olsen, Chilliwack Times

The operators of Prospera Centre are in discussions with the owners of the Quesnel Millionaires about possibly bringing the struggling British Columbia Hockey League franchise to Chilliwack next year.

Glen Ringdal, a consultant working with Prospera Centre owners Chiefs Development Group, confirmed to the Times that CDG spoke to Millionaires part owner Bob Sales Wednesday evening.

He said they spoke “just to see what their situation is and what ours is.”

Ringdal said that no offer has been made for the club but that another talk was planned.

“I’m going to meet with them again and we’re going to see if we’ve moved any closer,” said Ringdal. “They had to go away and think about some things and we had to go think about some things. So we’ll see.”

Ringdal said there is no imminent announcement and that CDG has “10 days to two weeks” to make a decision about bringing a hockey team to Chilliwack.

The Millionaires have been bleeding money in recent years while the city lobbied the province and federal government—and even the CBC—for help funding a new arena.

In a submission to CBC’s Hockeyville contest last year, Millionaires part-owner Kit Collins pleaded for help funding a new rink.

“Quesnel has the reputaion for the worst arena in the BCHL,” she wrote. “It is the smallest and most uncomfortable for fans to sit. Please help us.”

Ringdal said that the Millionaires are just one of the groups with whom CDG is speaking, but wouldn’t name the others.

“There’s still three leagues that have some potential,” he said, “the WHL, the BCHL and the ECHL.”

Ringdal said CDG has “not closed the door” on the possibility of bringing a Western Hockey League team to Chilliwack, but said CDG and the WHL haven’t spoken in two weeks.

Ringdal said that CDG badly wants to have a hockey team playing out of Prospera Centre next year, but that a hockey tenant isn’t absolutely necessary for the building to be profitable and that “we have to be responsible because our shareholder is the city and the taxpayer has not given us the right to put it into the hole by subsidizing a hockey team.”

He said any BCHL team would have to operate without a subsidy from the community, but that Chilliwack’s fan base should make that possible.

The way has also been cleared for a BCHL team in Chilliwack to be named the Chiefs after the announcement this week that the Langley Chiefs will be rebranded as the Rivermen next year.

Beyond hockey, Ringdal said CDG will try to respond to requests to expand the breadth of Prospera Centre’s offerings.

“We are going to be working harder here at the building to attract additional events other than hockey,” he said.

In the past, hockey scheduling has taken precedence and, Ringdal admitted, “with all due respect, we just haven’t put enough effort into it.”

Thursday Moves:

More notes on ex-BCHL players in the last few days. . . .

D Colton Jobke (Penticton, 2008-09) has signed an amateur tryout contract with Houston Aeros (AHL). Jobke had ten points (1g, 9a) and 84 PIM in 51 games with Kelowna Rockets (WHL) this past season. . . .

D Shawn Germain (Chilliwack, 2001-02) has inked a professional tryout agreement with Manchester Monarchs (AHL). He had 14 points (4g, 10a) in 43 games with Ontario Reign (ECHL) during the 2010-11 season. . . .

F Taylor Holst (Cowichan Valley/Quesnel, 2007-10) has signed one year contract with Vienna Capitals (Austria). Holst, who was born in Austria, had 15 points (7g, 8a) in 13 games with EC Salzburg II (Austria 2) before being called up to EC Salzburg (Austria). He had 6 points (5g, 1a) in 31 games at the higher level. . . .

F Brock Hooton (Quesnel, 2000-01) signed a one year contract extension with Schwenninger Wild Wings (Germany 2) for 2011-12. The Nanaimo product had 47 points (20g, 27a) in 47 games with the Wild Wings in 2010-11. . . .

F Kirk McDonald (Victoria, 2000-01) has been called up by Boston Bruins (NHL) from Providence Bruins (AHL). McDonald had 38 points (15g, 23a) in 76 games with Providence this season. . . .

F Andrew Lord (Burnaby/Vernon, 2001-04) has been reassigned to Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) by Oklahoma City Barons (AHL). Lord had 19 points (7g, 12a) in 26 games as the Nailers captain in 2010-11. He also posted 7 points (1g, 6a) in 37 AHL games split between Milwaukee Admirals and Oklahoma City. . . .

D Jody Pederson (Prince George, 2001-03) has been loaned by Worcester Sharks (AHL) to Stockton Thunder (ECHL). He posted three points (0g, 3a) in 11 games with Worcester in 2010-11 and seven points (1g, 6a) in 41 ECHL games split between Stockton and Elmira Jackals. . . .

Henderson’s Take Over Langley, Rename Team "Rivermen":

New ownership, new name for Langley’s junior hockey team
By Gary Ahuja – Langley Times

It’s official, the Langley Rivermen will hit the ice next season.

The B.C. Hockey League announced the sale of the junior A hockey Chiefs on Wednesday.

The new owners are John and Roy Henderson, and they take over from the Chiefs ownership group, which included Moray Keith, Heinz Hasselmen, Harvey Smyl and Jim Bond.

John Henderson, 65, is a chartered accountant, while Roy, 61, has a background in hockey scouting and is president of Global Sports Scouting Services Inc.

Roy Henderson used to scout for the Philadelphia Flyers.

“We have a hockey background and the reason we got involved is it’s another challenge in our lives,” he said.

“We really believe in the mission of the BCHL to send players on to the college level.”

Part of the sale agreement was that the former ownership group retained the right to the Chiefs name. Speculation has the BCHL returning to Chilliwack, as the town lost its Western Hockey League team to Victoria.

The Chiefs played in Chilliwack from 1990 to 2006 before moving to Langley.

Roy Henderson said they chose the name Rivermen because of the importance of the Fraser River to Langley.

“It fits the demographic of Langley,” he said. “Without the Fraser River, there probably wouldn’t be Fort Langley and Langley.

“We wanted something that Langley could call its own and it is part of the heritage.”

The new ownership group is looking at a couple of logos.

They officially take over control of the franchise on June 1.

In the meantime, the brothers are meeting with as many people associated with the team as possible, such as the billets, volunteers and sponsors.

Millionaires Pack Vans, But Doors Not Shut

It appears to be a given that the Quesnel Millionaires are destined to become the Chilliwack Chiefs. Here’s the latest from the Quesnel-Cariboo Observer:

Millionaires pack vans, but doors not shut
By Percy Hebert – Quesnel Cariboo Observer

The future of the Quesnel Millionaires in Quesnel is not bright.

The Mills haven’t left town yet, but the vans are packed.

The owners of the Quesnel Millionaires have received an offer to purchase and relocate the team to Chilliwack, part owner of the Mills, Kit Collins said.

“But all options are still open,” she added.

The other option is an offer to purchase the Mills and possibly keep them in Quesnel for at least a year if the team could not be moved to another city.

“It is evident no one wants to run it [the Mills team] in Quesnel,” Collins said.

An announcement, Collins said, would be made this Friday, April 29.

Given the current financial situation of the Mills in Quesnel, Collins said a move to Chilliwack would be a win-win for all involved, not just the current owners.
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“It would be best for the players,” Collins said of a move to Chilliwack that would see the Mills move into Prospera Centre, with two NHL-sized rinks and the main sheet of ice has seating for almost 5,000.

The potential move to Chilliwack was made possible by the recent sale and relocation of the Western Hockey League Chilliwack Bruins to Victoria.

Cents Announce 2011-12 Season Ticket Early Bird Deadline:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Merritt, BC – April 25, 2011

The Merritt Centennials reminds all current season ticket holders that the early bird deadline for 2011-12 season tickets is Saturday, April 30th.

Early bird prices are as follows:

* Adult $250
* Student $200
* Senior (60+)/Child (6-12) $170

Benefits and rewards of being a Merritt Centennials season ticket holder:

* VIP meet & greet with players and coaching staff
* Tour of the Centennials dressing room
* Exclusive team autograph session
* Chance to win an autographed Centennials jersey
* An exclusive Centennials Season Ticket Holder pin
* Invitation to Year End Awards Banquet
* Savings of up to $110 off the walk-up gate price!
* And much more!

To renew your season tickets or purchase a season ticket at the early bird price, please contact the Merritt Centennials Marketing Office at 250-378-3604 or visit the office located at 2185 B Voght Street, Merritt, BC.

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For further information, please contact Cents Marketing Manager Rachael Sanders at 250-378-3604 or email marketing@merrittcentennials.com

The Merritt Centennials, proudly celebrating 38 years as the BCHL’s longest continuously run franchise, are a non-profit, community owned Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club run by a dedicated team of investors, directors, and volunteers.

Former Cents Forward Dustin Johnson NOT Playing in Australia:

Turns out the number of websites listing former Cents forward Dustin Johnson with Canberra Knights (AIHL) are incorrect.

I sent a note to Johnson myself and got this response:

“hey Brian sorry but there has been a misunderstanding I’m not playing in Australia, I’m in Penticton haha.”

I’m not sure if there’s another player out there named Dustin Johnson who is playing in the Australian Ice Hockey League, but my guess is that there’s no record online of this player and the websites listing the Dustin Johnson who played for the Centennials just assumed it was him.

Sorry for any confusion!