The Revelstoke Grizzlies will not be moving to 100 Mile House and the current team ownership, under the direction of Lew Hendrickson, will continue to run the franchise.
“All I can tell you is I attended the league meetings in Castlegar and they asked me if I was going to operate the team and I said yes,” Hendrickson told the Times Review Monday morning.
The KIJHL held a meeting on Sunday, May 6, in Castlegar B.C., where the issue of the Grizzlies ownership came up. The issue has been a matter of debate as both the current ownership group of Grizzly Sports Entertainment, which is headed by Lew Hendrickson, and the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society have maintained they owned the team.
At the Sunday meeting, Hendrickson represented the owners and representatives of the society attended as observers.
“We discussed who the owner of the Grizzlies was, who’s going to operate it and its the current owners of the Revelstoke Grizzlies,” KIJHL president Bill Olhausen told the Times Review. “We asked all the questions if he was able to operate and if he could take care of everything and he assured the membership that he could. That’s all we could take. We offered the society to make a statement if they wished and they declined.”
On Friday, before the meeting, Olhausen indicated there was a chance the team could be made dormant if the ownership issue wasn’t settled but on Monday he said the league was moving forward under the assumption that GSE still owned the franchise.
“It’s not going to 100 Mile, I can tell you that,” Olhausen said on Friday, prior to the meeting.
The sale to 100 Mile House fell apart once it was learned there was a legal agreement with the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society giving it the first right to buy the team. Tom Bachynski, the head of the 100 Mile House group, said both he and the league were unaware of the clause when the application was filed to move the team.
On April 1, GSE filed an application with the league to sell the team to a group in 100 Mile House. However, when the Society sold the team to GSE in 2006, a clause was put in the sale contract giving the society the right to buy the team for $1 if an application was made to move or fold the team before May 31, 2016. It also required the owners to put a $25,000 bond in a trust and that money would be handed over to the society in case it regained ownership of the team.
Mavis Cann, the president of the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society, and former coach Randy Quakenbush provided an update to the society at a meeting at the Revelstoke Forum last Thursday, May 3. They told the 22 people in attendance there was still a dispute over who owns the team – the society, which exercised its option to buy the team for $1 after it was sold to 100 Mile House; or GSE.
In an interview Monday morning Hendrickson said that because GSE missed a Mar. 1 deadline to apply for an ownership change, “everything that happened after that is meaningless other than the fact that if Grizzly Sports Entertainment, which I seem to be the only one left standing, doesn’t operate then the team would not operate in Revelstoke this year.
“Any conjecture about the team going to 100 Mile House, it was not properly handled by GSE and the guy that was in charge, which was Mike,” he added.
Michael Roberts, the former majority partner in GSE who engineered the sale to 100 Mile House, signed over his shares of the team to Hendrickson and is no longer involved with the organization.
Last Monday, April 30, Cann, Quakenbush and the society’s lawyer Connie Brothers met with GSE’s laywer Robert Lundberg. Hendrickson was not present and he said he did not want to discuss legal matters in the press.
Mavis Cann, the president of the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society, said she would be bringing up the weekend’s developments at a meeting of the society that was set for Monday evening, after the Times Review went to press. She would leave it up to the members to decide if they want to continue their ownership pursuit.
“I’m not at liberty to make a decision for the members,” she said. Visit www.revelstoketimesreview.com for a report from that meeting.
Hendrickson said he would bring people in to run the team and would be meeting with Quakenbush and Kevin Kraus, the team’s acting general manager and coach, to see who would run the hockey operations. He also said he wanted to work with the society to keep the team in Revelstoke.
“As far as I’m concerned is the society has done the town a service by getting involved and making sure the team stayed here,” he said.
Cann said the fact the team was staying in Revelstoke was a victory for the society and meant it had accomplished its goal.
“I’ve feel that we attained the goal that we set out to and that was to keep the Revelstoke Grizzlies in Revelstoke,” she said. “We’ve had a huge win.”
Disclosure: Mavis Cann is the publisher of the Revelstoke Times Review. As always, the Times Review editorial department will strive for fairness while reporting this ongoing story. If you have any concerns, please contact editor Aaron Orlando at 250-837-4667 or express them in a letter to the editor.