They have hung up their skates for now but the 100 Mile House Wranglers are getting ready for the day they can use them again.
Wranglers president Greg Aiken said the organization has been using its time off to fundraise and plan for the 2021-2022 season. As long as restrictions are lifted and enough of Canada is vaccinated, he said, they plan to begin their new season in September.
“We want the community to be safe, that was the reason we went dark last year,” Aiken said. “Hopefully they’ll lift the gathering restrictions so we can have fans in the building. That’s our biggest revenue source.”
The Wranglers ended their 2019/2020 season abruptly due to the pandemic. Since then, the board of directors has continued to fundraise. Directors are currently running their annual cash lottery, and are selling tickets around town to raise money to buy equipment and jerseys for next season. Aiken said they’re all sure to sanitize and wear their masks when out and about in the community.
READ MORE: The puck stops here: Wranglers skip season
Tickets are on sale now until the first week of March, with the draw set for March 13. First-place prize is $7,000, second place $3,000 and third place $1,000. Aiken added that there are other fundraising plans in the works for the spring and summer, though for now they’re being kept under wraps.
“We appreciate the support. We’ve got lots of good comments and feedback from the local fans when we’re out selling tickets. When I’m around town, we get lots of praise for not risking our community by taking the year off,” Aiken said, adding most teams only played four games anyway so the Wranglers haven’t missed anything.
As for the team itself, its members are keeping fit for the new season or planning for their future. Forward centreman Nic Flinton, 19, who played two seasons with the Wranglers, has been working on his family’s ranch near Williams Lake since the pandemic hit.
Flinton first tried out for a junior team at 16 and at 17 joined the Wranglers’ camp. He said he was pretty excited as he’s been playing hockey since he could walk and always wanted to play in that league.
“I like the guys on that team. We had a lot of good times and we’re all pretty close,” Flinton said.
Flinton said he felt they were on route to do “something pretty cool” before they had to cancel the season last fall. He’s not sure if he’ll be playing a third season.
“I’m not really sure what my plan is yet,” Flinton said. “If I were to come back I’d only have one more year left because I’d be 20 – if they were to start up next year again.”
When not working on his family’s ranch, Flinton had been studying at Thompson River’s University for the Applied Sustainable Ranching Program.
He’d like to learn more about the financial and business side of farming, in preparation for his future.
Flinton does plan to play senior hockey one day and play for the Williams Lake Stampeders.
Regardless of what ends up happening with the Wranglers, he said he will always hold the friendships he made with the team in his heart.