A Greater Metro Hockey League (GMHL) franchise will not call the West Fraser Centre home — at least in 2021.
At the North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee Meeting on Tuesday, March 9, a staff report outlining the pros and cons of hosting the non-sanctioned league was pulled from the agenda after league officials said the report as written would prevent the GMHL from establishing a team in Quesnel.
The GMHL, a mostly Ontario-based league operating outside of Hockey Canada, is looking to expand into B.C. They have proposed a four-team division of Northern B.C. teams to go along with its four Alberta teams for the 2021 season.
“I think it would be nice to send a letter back to (league executive) Derek Prue, who did the presentation for us, saying thank you for considering us for expansion, and we wish them every success into their expansion into B.C.,” CRD Area C Director John Massier said. “Should an opportunity come up in the future, he can come back with another proposal at a future date.”
Council did not discuss the staff report, which examined the league’s history and whether the West Fraser Centre could fulfill the ice time and revenue requirements the league was asking for. It also looked at potential pros and cons of hosting the league.
Both the Quesnel Kangaroos Senior AA hockey team and Quesnel and District Minor Hockey Association wrote letters to the committee last month, asking for caution when dealing with any non-sanctioned hockey league.
The report, which was included in its entirety on the public agenda before the meeting, also noted Quesnel was in the running to host a BCHL team in 2020/21. An American-based team was considering operating out of the WFC to avoid COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League junior B Kamloops Storm, owned by a Quesnel resident, have also played games at the West Fraser Centre in past years.
“Staff remains optimistic that Quesnel may be able to attract a sanctioned junior team in time and that in the long term this would be a better option for the community,” the report read.
The GMHL is also proposing expansion into Williams Lake. The South Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee will decide on the league’s immediate future in the Cariboo at their meeting later this month.
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