Langley Not Home to the Rivermen Just Yet:

More speculation! This is what happens when BCHL fans get itching for some news!

Here’s the latest on the Langley Rivermen… I mean, Chiefs from the Langley Advance newspaper.

Juniors still called Chiefs – for now

By Troy Landreville, Langley Advance

They’re not the Rivermen yet.

Postings in the “Twitter-verse” – about Langley’s junior A hockey team changing its name from the Chiefs – are premature.

But prospective owner Roy Henderson can’t confirm anything until a deal is completed to buy the franchise.

Henderson and his brother John have put forward a formal purchase application to the B.C. Hockey League board of governors. It will be voted on in the next three weeks.

The brothers are chomping at the bit to get the ball rolling.

“We are working on a confidentiality clause to begin with so it’s tough to disclose anything,” Henderson said. “I can’t really say right now because nobody’s really disclosed that [about the name change]. I would like it to be a surprise. We don’t have the club yet. We’ve met with the B.C. junior league and it’s all in their hands. It could still be the Chiefs, who knows? They [the B.C. Hockey League] have to do their due diligence and make sure [we’re] a viable group and one, ‘Do they have the money?’ And two, ‘Can put a competitive team together?’”

The bottom line is, Henderson noted, the name remains Chiefs until he officially buys the hockey club.

Moray Keith, one of the principal owners of the junior A Chiefs, said his group had no intention to sell the team, but was approached by what he considered to be a small, committed group with strong business and hockey interests in Langley [Local group makes bid to buy Chiefs, Feb. 15, Langley Advance].

The team was owned by Keith and Jim Bond (both Vancouver businessmen), two Burnaby businessmen, and head coach Harvey Smyl.

The deal has been in the works since this past October and Henderson stressed the team was “never for sale.”

“We approached them and thought we could do something different – make it a little more entertaining to go to a hockey game,” Henderson said.

The move signals the end of an era. Head coach Harvey Smyl won’t be back next year.

“I think there may be an opportunity for him in Chilliwack. That’s where he wanted to be right from day one,” Henderson said. “He had to drive from Chililwack every day. That’s tough sledding.”

Henderson said next year’s junior A squad will be “Langley’s team.”

“It’s never really been that way,” he said.

In the spring of 2006, the Chiefs Ownership Group were looking for a home for its team after the Western Hockey League’s Chilliwack Bruins moved into that city’s Prospera Centre, the former home of the Chiefs.

The Chiefs originally considered relocating to Abbotsford, before landing in Langley.

The Advance’s sister paper, Chilliwack Times, reported that the Bruins have been sold to a group that plans to move the team to Victoria, according to Keith, the minority owner of the WHL squad.

Keith told CKNW sports reporter Jim Mullin that an agreement is in place that would see the team moved to Victoria.

Keith and business partner Jim Bond own a 25 per cent share of the Bruins, but the pair was outvoted by team president Darryl Porter and National Hockey League general managers Brian Burke and Glen Sather, each of whom also own a quarter of the club.

Keith and Bond, who own the company that operates Prospera Centre, had submitted their own bid to buy the team.

Mullin told the Chilliwack Times that Keith now plans to go to the Western Hockey League’s board of governors and ask whether there are any WHL teams he could move to Chilliwack. Failing that, he will ask for another expansion team for the city.

If those options fail, he hopes to bring a BCHL team back to Chilliwack. Keith has agreed to sell his portion of the Chiefs, but retains the rights to the name “Chiefs.”

Recent Twitter postings have Smyl and Keith making a bid to buy the BCHL franchise in Quesnel and then move it to Chilliwack.

A new Chilliwack Chiefs would be coached by Smyl, a Chilliwack resident who has been non-commital when asked about his future in Langley.

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