100 Mile House will not see its own Junior B hockey team this coming season, but Tom Bachynski, a member of the 100 Mile House Wranglers Jr. B Hockey Club Society, says there is confidence in predicting the 2012/13 season will see a home team.
The society has been on the lookout for an available team for about a year, he adds, and during that time has had negotiations with three existing clubs in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).
“Currently, we believe there is one team we may be able to have deep discussions with and at least one other that may wish to talk later in the year.”
Bachynski says expenses involved in starting a new team in 100 Mile House will fall somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.
The KIJHL is currently maxed out at 20 franchises, and if 100 Mile were to be successful in gaining one of them, it would be the most northerly club in the league.
With the recent loss of both Quesnel Millionaires and Williams Lake Timber Wolves (from the Interior conference of the British Columbia Hockey League), Bachynski notes there has been some chatter that the Cariboo corridor may make a great expansion division for the KIJHL.
Either way, it presents its own set of problems and possible solutions, Bachynski explains.
“The league is also concerned about increasing operating costs to teams travelling here, but we have offered various methods of alternate compensation to lessen that.”
He adds the society has seen support and interest for ownership of a Junior B club from within the local community and he feels comfortable saying that in September, the society will be looking for volunteers and starting a fundraising campaign.
To help create some hype, the society will be hosting the Kamloops Storm and Sicamous Eagles Jr. B hockey teams in an exhibition game on Sept. 5 at the South Cariboo Rec. Centre.
“We need to fill every seat for that game. We need to show the league just how passionate we are about hockey.
“If you want a team in 100 Mile House, go to this game. I assure you, the league governors will be looking to see the fan support.”
Those wishing to show their support can visit the 100 Mile Wranglers’ Facebook page on the Internet and tell them what you can offer, says Bachynski.
“We need people to register with us, tell us what you are prepared to do, and I guarantee you will be called upon.”