Williams Lake will play host to a BC Hockey provincial championship this winter.
The lakecity and the Williams Lake Bantam Tier 2 Timberwolves were recently announced as this year’s hosts of the championships.
“It’s awesome, and it’s pretty exciting,” said championship host co-ordinator Mike Rispin of Williams Lake. “The last time we hosted [a provincials] was in 2018 with the midget girls, and that was obviously a huge success [when they won gold]. Arguably for a minor hockey event I’ve been involved with that final had the largest crowd I’ve ever seen in that arena.”
The BC Hockey Bantam Tier 2 Provincials will begin March 14, 2019, with a registration, banquet and travel day, followed by games running between March 15-19 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.
The tournament will feature seven teams, including the Williams Lake Bantam Timberwolves.
While the T-wolves would have already earned a berth at provincials due to no teams being within their zones this season, hosting the championships would have also guaranteed their spot.
“We’ll have 21 games to be played, plus a championship game,” Rispin said. “There will be a round robin and then the top two teams go into the championship.”
Rispin said the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association executive is looking forward to hosting another provincials in the lakecity, and noted parents and players he’s spoken to about it have expressed their excitement.
“Some of the players I’ve talked to are really looking forward to their families being able to come out to watch, and their friends, and be able to show off their talents at home.”
The economic spinoffs of hosting such an event for the city are also impactful, he noted.
“One of the things we do is put a welcome package together and in that welcome package we have all the local hotels, all the restaurants, sporting equipment stores, the pizza places, fitness centres, and we’ll add to that as we go,” Rispin said.
“We are looking for sponsors to help us fund the games, as well.”
Rispin added so far organizing the championships has been smooth sailing as he has a great committee dedicated to hosting the event.
“We had our first meeting two weeks ago and I had folks with kids involved in hockey at the level and folks with kids that have played all the way through and they’re coming out to help, too,” he said. “It’s a great committee and a good start. I’m still going to be looking for a lot of help and a lot of volunteers, especially that week.”
The Williams Lake Bantam Timberwolves, meanwhile, currently sit in second place in the Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association (OMAHA) with six wins and four losses in 10 outings. They’re currently one point back in the standings of Kelowna for top spot in the league.
For more information on the tournament, or if you are interested in volunteering, you can contact Rispin by phone at 250-267-3667 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.