Quesnel’s Parallel Sports Group’s bid to bring a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) expansion franchise to Quesnel was once again turned down by governors at the league’s meeting over the weekend (Jan. 13- 14).
Matt Kolle, who spearheaded the initiative, says he attended the meetings and presented the group’s bid to the KIJHL governors.
They voted it down, with 16 governors against, and three for, expansion. This is the second time the league has shut down Parallel Sports Group’s expansion bid. Parallel also applied in January 2017, along with a group from Williams Lake.
Despite another setback, Kolle says he is not done with the idea of bringing Junior B hockey to Quesnel.
“The feeling I got in the meetings was that the KIJHL governors do believe KIJHL hockey will eventually operate in Quesnel and Williams Lake. Right now, though, in their minds they are hesitant to take that first step because it presents change and change is unknown.
“They seem to know its the right step, but are just struggling to take it. I believe the first step was taken when the 100 Mile House Wranglers were granted their franchise, and what happens next is actually a natural progression for another division,” comments Kolle.
Following the group’s first bid, Kolle and his colleagues began a campaign to show the KIJHL that Quesnel is the right place for a team.
As part of that campaign, the Kamloops Storm have been playing regular-season games in Quesnel this season, with Storm general manager Barry Dewar on board with Kolle in believing that Quesnel is the right place for a Junior B team.
KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen and other league governors attended games in West Fraser Centre in November, and were impressed with Quesnel’s arena. Ohlhausen said at the time, however, that the decision falls to the membership.
The Kamloops Storm will next play in Quesnel on Feb. 9 and 10.
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