A May 6 meeting of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League board of governors will determine if Revelstoke will have Junior B hockey next season.
On Sunday, April 1, the current ownership team of the Revelstoke Grizzlies sent notification to the KIJHL’s 20 governors notifying them of their intent to sell the team to a group from 100 Mile House.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers have their own website, logo and have announced a spring camp taking place April 13–15. Rumours that the two parties have been in discussion have been persistent over the past months.
KIJHL president Bill Ohlhausen confirmed the news of the notification to move in an April 2 interview. “This is the first time that the governors have heard about this,” Ohlhausen said. “They will have to decide.”
He said he wasn’t in a position to answer political questions about the application to move until after the governors had met on the issue.
The teams in the league are privately held and give the owners broad leeway over what they can do with them. However, the application will also require permission from the league governors. “That’s the basic bottom line to it,” he said.
Ohlhausen noted the Grizzlies ownership had missed a Mar. 1 deadline to apply to transfer a team and that approval from the board would require more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Revelstoke Grizzlies co-owner Mike Roberts was not available by telephone before press time on Monday. Co-owner Lou Hendrickson was reached but he deferred questions to Roberts.
Revelstoke Grizzlies Society president Tammy Kaler said the news was crushing. “I would be devastated if it’s moving,” she said.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies first came to Revelstoke in 1991 and were sold to a private ownership group in 2006. The Grizzlies Society has operated in parallel to the ownership group, who are the de facto bosses of the organization. Kaler said the arrangement has been awkward at times.
Kaler argues that a condition of the sale in 2006 included a clause that the team must remain in Revelstoke for 10 years — until 2016 — unless the society approved of the move.
Whether that clause still exists or has bearing in the situation is unknown.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies Society will hold its annual general meeting this Tuesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at the Revelstoke Forum.
Revelstoke History of Hockey president Dennis Berarducci was part of the society that brought the team to Revelstoke. He operates the history displays that adorn the Revelstoke Forum. “I think it’s a sad day in Revelstoke to move a Junior B team,” Berarducci said. “People who worked so hard to move the team here — it’s a direct slap in the face to the original society that brought that team here.
“It’s going to hurt minor hockey — it’s going to hurt everything,” he said.
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