Junior hockey will return to the lakecity this Saturday when the 100 Mile House Wranglers and the Summerland Steam square off at the Cariboo Memorial Complex.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game, scheduled for Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., was lined up by a management team in Williams Lake who are looking to fire up interest in bringing a Junior B hockey team to the city.
“Summerland has graciously given up their home game to allow us to host this game and we can’t thank them enough,” Rob Sandrock said, who, alongside Tyrel Lucas and Ryan Bailey, are behind the fledgling management initiative.
“Also, a big thanks to the KIJHL for their approval.
“We want to put on a good show. Not just for the city, but for the league so the league sees there’s a hardcore fan base in Williams Lake. Everybody I talk to says we need a team.”
The 100 Mile House Wranglers currently sit first in the KIJHL’s Doug Birks division with 14 wins, four losses and two overtime losses.
The team also has a handful of players from Williams Lake on its roster including Justin Bond, Tyler Povelofskie and Kolten Carpenter. Bond currently leads the team in scoring with seven goals and 12 assists.
The Steam, meanwhile, are second in the Okanagan Division standings with nine wins and eight losses, five points back of the Osoyoos Coyotes for first in the division.
Volunteering duties have been taken up by the Williams Lake Stampeders, among others, Sandrock said, and noted the beer gardens will be open with proceeds going to the Stampeders.
“Our main purpose is to show the league what a great hockey city Williams Lake is and have a serious look at us if they decide to do an expansion [of the league],” Sandrock said. “We are a passionate fanbase and we want a hockey team.”
In between the first and second periods two local novice teams will be playing, providing on-ice entertainment.
Sandrock said the management group has until December to file an application to become a KIJHL member, and the group plans on doing so.
“That doesn’t mean you get a team right away,” he said, noting it’s the first step in the process. “I’ve let the league know we’re in no rush. We want to make sure we have all our ducks in a row.”
Tickets to the Nov. 14 game are available from Sandrock through either the ‘Williams Lake Jr. B Hockey’ Facebook page, by phone at 250-303-1432 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The management group has partnered with Heartland Toyota, Margetts Meats and About Face Photography to host the game.
“Hopefully this will be one game of many,” he said.