View Full Version : Junior B Hockey

03-29-2006, 07:19 PM
Sports reporter www.kamloopsthisweek.com
Mar 29 2006

Junior B hockey is making a push for Kamloops, with the Osoyoos Storm gunning to lay claim to McArthur Island's new Olympic ice surface, despite Blazer beefs over a shrinking hockey fan base.
"I can't say that we're being welcomed with open arms," said Storm president and general manager Barry Dewar. "They [the Blazers] obviously have some issues and some concerns about another team coming into town."
Dewar met with Blazer CEO Gerry Bell before entering into the application process, noting Bell had expressed concern over losing fans to the junior B club.
Blazer president Case van Diemen told KTW he is also not in favour of the move.
"Any competition will affect our fan base to some degree," he argued. "What the final effect is, who knows."
Dewar admits a drop in Blazer numbers is a possibility.
But he hopes, instead, the two teams will feed off one another, benefiting hockey as a whole in Kamloops.
Regardless of Blazer rumblings, a deal is in the works between the Storm and the City of Kamloops.
The Storm has chosen Kamloops as a potential home for increased exposure and better facilities.
Dewar also alluded to strife between his team and the City of Osoyoos.
Hoping for better relationships abroad, Dewar noted the Storm has had strong ties with Kamloops since he took over the team five years ago, with numerous Kamloops minor hockey products moving up to play with the team.
"We met with Kamloops Minor Hockey and they have been very helpful in providing us with information, and they have been very supportive of the move," Dewar said.
Dewar also met with Kamloops parks, recreation and culture director Byron McCorkell and said council has been open to the application.
"Everything looks very favourable but nothing is official," he said.
The city is, however, looking for an anchor team for the new rink at McArthur Island, McCorkell said, and bringing in the Storm fits well within that business plan.
"It's his decision to make," McCorkell noted. "Ultimately, we have a rink, we have a business case and he owns the team."
Before a final decision is made, B.C. Amateur Hockey consent is needed.
The Storm has been talking to the league for several months about the possibility of moving and plans for a realignment of teams are pending.
The move would mean less travel for competing Okanagan Shuswap division teams out of Sicamous and Revelstoke, while Princeton and Summerland will be further.
Dewar said the KIJHL considers Kamloops a major market, "a hockey market that will showcase our talent at a better level than it's at today.

Here's hoping the Storm blows in the Chiefs

Mar 29 2006

Might there come a day next winter when hockey fans in Kamloops are yakking about the hated Eagles from the east, or the dreaded Sting from the south?
Perhaps the vaunted Kamloops Blazers-Kelowna Rockets rivalry can never be topped, but if Barry Dewar succeeds in his plan, junior hockey fans in the Tournament Capital will be talking about Princeton, Revelstoke, Spokane and Creston, in addition to following Prince George, Kootenay and Vancouver in the standings.
Dewar is owner of the Osoyoos Storm junior B hockey club, which for the past 10 years has played its hockey in the Sun Bowl in the desert town hard by the U.S. border.
But a tempest has been brewing for some time as Dewar and Osoyoos civic officials cannot agree on an arena deal that satisfies both sides.
So Dewar has applied to move his successful Storm franchise - it won the Western Canadian championship last season, which is as far as junior B teams in B.C. can advance - to Kamloops, where he proposes to play out of the brand-spanking new Sports Centre Olympic ice-size arena.
The City of Kamloops is behind the deal - after all, it wouldn't mind a regular, paying tenant to help fill a night or two per week during hockey season,
And the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) and B.C. Amateur Hockey are onside, which essentially makes the Storm's move from the desert to the River City something that will happen, quite possibly in time for the start of the 2006-2007 season in September.
It's going to happen, which must make junior hockey fans in Osoyoos sick, particularly after $97,000 in provincial government funding was secured last year to upgrade that town's arena to include 440 bucket seats to replace old wooden benches.
Meanwhile, Dewar said he has met with Kamloops Blazers' brass, and admitted the Western Hockey League club has expressed concerns about a junior B entry in Kamloops diluting the fan base.
In a city of 84,000, and one that is as hockey-mad as Kamloops, that shouldn't be a concern.
Victoria has three significant teams competing for the fan's dollar: The minor pro ECHL Salmon Kings, the junior A Salsa and the junior B Cougars.
Kelowna will be home to two squads next season: The WHL Rockets and the junior A team that is relocating to Westside from Langley.
And fans in Abbotsford will likely have the relocated junior A club from Chilliwack to complement their long-standing and highly successful junior B Pilots.
In Kamloops, the arrival on the scene of a junior B hockey team could present an opportunity.
How about the Blazers and the junior B squad teaming up on scheduling to limit games on the same night?
How about a ticket promotion agreement - buy Blazer and junior B ducats and get a deal?

Having a junior B team call the Sports Centre home will raise the profile of junior hockey as a whole in the city, with the Blazers having the opportunity to have right at home prospects who are ready to play junior B hockey.
Why go to Sicamous when McArthur Island is right here?
There are also affiliations to consider.
Last season, Osoyoos had an affiliation agreement with the junior A Merritt Centennials. This year, the Storm went to an open affiliation system.
If the team lands in Kamloops, wouldn't a reattachment to Merritt - a mere 45 minutes down the highway - make sense for both teams?
Aside from all that, fans should realize the decade-old Osoyoos Storm has an interesting link with the Kamloops Blazers.
The Storm was once coached and managed by Barry Beck, the hulking defenceman who played for Don Cherry and the Colorado Rockies before escaping to New York.
Beck was a superstar defenceman in the Western Hockey League (then known as the Western Canadian Hockey League) in the late 1970s, anchoring the blue-line for the legendary New Westminster Bruins.
He ended up in New Westminster after his rights were traded to Punch McLean's McBride Street Bullies by none other than the Kamloops Chiefs.
Those very same Bruins eventually left Queen's Park Arena and settled here, where today they are known as the Kamloops Blazers.
The original Chiefs are now known as the Seattle Thunderbirds, which prompts a suggestion for Dewar: When the Storm blows in, bring back the Chiefs moniker.

04-01-2006, 03:29 AM
I think its a great idea, and the fact that old cronie Bell is worried about a "Leave thats 2 tiers lower" as he put it, says alot. He's getting out before he might actually have to do some actual work. I think if the fans do go to other games then they have nobody to blame but themselves. If these clowns on the board had put their massive egos aside and brought in the right players and people to run the team then this would be something that would never be a problem.

Fact is the Kamloops Blazers will ALWAYS be first in this city, and these old viagra poppers need to stop taking advantage of that becauase thats how alot of people in this city have felt for the last few years and you're seeing it in the empty blue seats.

So eat your prunes, take your viagra and lets get going geezers.

04-01-2006, 08:41 PM
Your right KBF, to bad the Blazers think little of this team, I would think that this would be a great way to help develop players and be able to keep a closer eye on there developement, but as we all know the Blazers kind of suck at developing players lately

04-02-2006, 11:28 PM
Your right KBF, to bad the Blazers think little of this team, I would think that this would be a great way to help develop players and be able to keep a closer eye on there developement, but as we all know the Blazers kind of suck at developing players lately
Junior B players don't often end up in the WHL, do they? I never really saw it as a developmental league, more of an alternative to Junior A/Major Junior...unless things are different out there?