The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

The Greater Metro Hockey League is seeking expansion into Williams Lake.

On Thursday, the City of Williams Lake released a survey asking for public feedback while it explores the possibility of hosting a GMHL team in the community.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring forward a new hockey team and community sport to complement our Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association and Williams Lake Stampeders,” the city said in a release.

The GMHL brands itself as a “tier II” junior A men’s league and is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada. It started in Ontario in 2007 and expanded into Alberta in 2019 by absorbing some of the former teams of the Western Provinces Hockey Association.

Ian James, director of community services, said the GMHL made a presentation to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee which was approved unanimously on Dec. 16 where both councils asked James to prepare a report on the potential for a team in the league.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, James presented his findings to the joint committee.

“The councillors liked what they heard and thought we should move to the next step, which is more community engagement,” James said.

“In my background check, Williams Lake Minor Hockey and the Williams Lake Stampeders were all supportive and willing to share the ice, and that was a key hurdle for us.”

GMHL west division expansion director Derek Prue recently told Black Press Media the league is hoping to expand into at least three northern B.C. markets next year. League staff would set up the team’s logistics, hire staff and recruit players.

Prue noted the GMHL will not require any capital funding or investment from the city.

At the next joint committee meeting on March 24, a formal decision could potentially be made one way or another.

“We’ll look at the survey results, hear Derek’s answers to some of the questions and concerns and be able to get a pulse of what the community is saying,” James said. “If we’re comfortable with all the terms, a decision would be made after that if everything is progressing nicely.”

If approved, the team would start play in the fall of 2021.

In its request for community feedback the city said they expect the addition of a GMHL team would bring increased tourism, positive publicity and increased opportunity for the community.

READ MORE: GMHL responds to Quesnel critics

The GMHL’s bid to host a team in Quesnel, meanwhile, has come under fire from the Central Interior Hockey League’s Quesnel Kangaroos and the Quesnel and District Minor Hockey Association (QDMHA). Both organizations sent letters to the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee earlier this month questioning whether the city should support a GMHL team.

The QDMHA’s concerns revolved around players bouncing back and forth between affiliated and non-affiliated leagues, along with the GMHL’s issues with stability.

The league expansion application in Quesnel is still pending.

The GMHL’s players pay between $8,000 and $10,000 per year to play in the league, Prue said.

Williams Lake’s last junior A hockey team was the Williams Lake Timberwolves of the BC Hockey League, who played its final season in 2009/10.

– With files from Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer


 


greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A grass fire west of Williams Lake, seen here Tuesday, is considered to be being held by members of the BC Wildfire Service. (Photo submitted)
An Interior Health nurse administers Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to seniors and care aids in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (Phil McLachlan/Kelowna Capital News)
105 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

Just over 8,000 new vaccine doses administered in the region for a total of 158,000 to date

A grass fire sparked by embers from a fire pit quickly spread to the home of Cliff and Lydia Trudeau. (Barb Trudeau photo)
Fire destroys home of elderly couple at Cuisson Lake, near McLeese Lake

Fast-moving grass fire burns house to the ground

The public is being asked to use caution when doing backyard burning in the Cariboo Fire Centre. (File photo)
Caution urged with outdoor burning says Cariboo Fire Centre

Anyone conducting burning must ensure adequate resources are on hand to stop fire from spreading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply on 5th anniversary of overdose emergency declaration

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Most Read