In every sense of the word, the 100 Mile House Wranglers Junior B Hockey Club gave us an amazing success story in its inaugural year in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.
There are many reasons for this success both on and off the ice, and many people played important roles – some larger than others, but all of them important in the grand scheme of things.
Club president Tom Bachynski played a key role in bringing Junior B hockey to 100 Mile House and making the Wranglers a success on the ice and in the community.
Having poured his heart and soul into bringing the Revelstoke Grizzlies franchise to 100 Mile, he suffered through the heartbreak when a last-minute bid kept the Grizzlies in Revelstoke.
While others might have thrown in the towel, Bachynski showed his tenacity and never-say-die attitude – an attitude the Wranglers showed on the ice all season long – and he was rewarded just before Christmas 2012 when the KIJHL board voted in favour of the Wranglers filling the void when the Penticton Lakers folded its tent.
Then Bachynski and his board of directors went to work, because not only were they new to Junior B hockey, but they also had to start from scratch because no assets came with the Penticton deal.
They talked about the Wranglers providing a family friendly form of entertainment and community involvement that 100 Mile had never seen before – and they did that in spades. The Wranglers were seen at many community events, at the schools and signed autographs at the games.
There was non-stop action on the ice and in the stands at every home game.
The support of the community and local businesses was the key to success for the Wranglers franchise by providing their homes for billets, jobs for the players and filling the stands for home games.
One of the other keys to success was hiring general manager/coach Doug Rogers who did a remarkable job of taking care of the on-ice operation.
He said his number 1 goal was to make the playoffs in the Wranglers inaugural season, and they made it to the second round.
Rogers said another goal was to prepare players to take the next step up to Junior A, and that happened on a regular basis.
He also gave his players a hard-working, never-say-die attitude that saw them provide a number of surprises during the season.
Rogers had a team of striders and not gliders; and he turned boys into young men.
We thank the Wranglers for an awesome year.