It started with a “wouldn’t it be great if….” several years ago.
The dream was to bring a Junior B hockey team to 100 Mile House.
There was a new arena, so that was one major priority out of the way.
The biggest issue early on was trying to convince the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) board of governors that it would be a good idea to have a franchise in 100 Mile House.
The argument was it’s too far north.
The counter argument was 100 Mile House is perfectly placed for expansion into northern British Columbia.
A group of folks got together and formed the 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B Hockey Club.
An executive was elected with Tom Bachynski leading the club as its president.
While people were designated as directors to look after areas that need to be covered for the operation of the club, the search began to find a team.
The club also had to run a season tickets pre-sale to prove the Wranglers would be financially viable – the community supported it and still does.
After a failed attempt to pick up the Revelstoke Grizzlies due to a last-minute move to save the team, the Wranglers finally got a team a year later.
That marked the birth of Wrangler Nation.
The Wranglers executive members has some lofty goals when they started to build their first team.
They wanted to provide the players, who would mostly be drawn from the north of the province, an opportunity to receive a good hockey experience and coaching to prepare them move forward in their careers.
They wanted to provide the players good billet homes, education, part-time jobs and personal growth.
For their part, the players had to be involved in the community. They did that in spades, whether it was skating, reading, playing broomball, signing autographs or helping at the various non-profit organization’s events.
While these young men are hard-nosed, hard-hitting and big and tough on the ice, they are all smiles, courteous and helpful off the ice.
They genuinely like this community for the support it offers and they want the people of 100 Mile House and area to be proud of them.
Wranglers coach Dale Hladun says everywhere the team goes – restaurants, lodging and arena dressing rooms – his boys get compliments for being respectful and courteous.
So, all told, the 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B Hockey Club is a success story.
Community residents and businesses have supported the Wranglers and helped the organization become a reality and remain viable.
The Wranglers Club has produced some great young men and has given 100 Mile House a prestigious KIJHL League Championship, and as you read this, the players are trying to bring home the Junior B Hockey Provincial Championship – the Cyclone Taylor Cup.
Visions can come true with hard work and support.