Salmon Arm in cementing it’s reputation as a hockey hub.
BC Hockey officially opened their new Okanagan regional centre at the Shaw Centre on Friday Sept. 15.
The centre will assist with administration, coach development and other aspects of operating the 25 minor hockey associations and over 300 teams in the Okanagan Mainline region.
“We’re extremely happy to have BC Hockey here with their inaugural regional centre, our facility has a longstanding relationship with hockey BC dating back to 2002 and 2003 when we first started hosting their high performance events,” said Dale Berger, general manager of the Shuswap Recreation Society at the grand opening of the centre.
BC Hockey dignitaries present at the grand opening were excited to see the centre opening and said Salmon Arm is an ideal location for it.
“This was just a perfect fit. We know that we have a lot of our high-performance events here. We get treated royally. We know it’s a good location to serve the Okanagan, said Randy Henderson, chair of the BC Hockey board of directors.
“All the way around it just couldn’t be a better fit for us.”
Henderson said the centre and its newly-hired manager George Cochrane will be responsible for coordinating coach clinics, officiating clinics and registrar seminars to help keep the minor hockey associations in the region running smoothly. He added the centre would also be important in resolving disciplinary matters.
Salmon Arm already hosts several BC Hockey elite programs including the U16 BC cup, but Henderson things that further BC hockey events are a possible spin-off of the centre being located at the Shaw Centre.
Barry Petrachenko, BC Hockey CEO agreed also said the centre may bring more hockey skills development programs to Salmon Arm.
“Any opportunity that we have to run something in the Okanagan, it makes sense to run it out of our office,” he said.
“Everything we need to run a camp or an event is here.”
The centre is the first of its kind in the province, but if it succeeds Henderson says it could serve as a model for other regions.
“The next location that we’ll probably be looking at is somewhere in the North,” he said.
Petrachenko said BC Hockey’s previous history with Salmon Arm and how welcoming the city was to the proposed centre helped make the decision to open it in Salmon Arm.
“What really stuck out in Salmon Arm was the tie with minor hockey, the tie with the community and that the city wants us here,” he said.