Former Victoria Grizzlies chief will lead startup Jr. B hockey club

Former Victoria Grizzlies coach and general manager Victoria Gervais will lead the startup West Shore Wolves

West Shore Wolves team owners Dave Horner

West Shore Wolves team owners Dave Horner

Junior B hockey will return to Bear Mountain Arena next season with the expansion Westshore Wolves franchise.

Team owners Ken Carson, Dave Horner, Kory Gronnestad and Derrick Hamilton are behind the effort to bring junior B back to the West Shore after the downtrodden Westshore Stingers disbanded from the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League in late 2010.

Six players have been signed to the Wolves, five of whom reside on the West Shore. The owners agree that the point of starting this team is to get West Shore teenagers playing competative hockey at home.

“That’s what we did,” Hamilton remarked. “All of us played for the Juan de Fuca Gulls.”

“It was a gong show – back then it was called jungle B,” Horner joked.

All four grew up playing Juan de Fuca minor hockey and both Horner and Hamilton went on to play for the Gulls. Hamilton remembers home games bringing the community together with the arena full of friends and family, something he hopes to see for the Wolves.

It might be unrealistic, however, to expect full crowds at the Wolves giant new home, the 2,781 seat Bear Mountain Arena. But it’s a coup for the team nonetheless, sharing the city’s best rink with the B.C. Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies.

Home games will be Wednesday nights at 7 p.m., a friendlier time slot than the Stingers’ previous Monday night games, which didn’t start until 8 p.m. Wednesdays also fit nicely within the VIJHL’s South Island rotation. Thursday nights belong to the Victoria Cougars, while the Saanich Braves and Peninsula Panthers host their games on Fridays (the Braves also have games on Wednesdays when dates conflict).

Same barn, new coach

The Wolves scored big when Victor Gervais agreed to lead the pack as head coach and general manager. He comes in as perhaps the most qualified coach in the league, having performed the same duties the past four years for the junior A Victoria Grizzlies.

Up first for the new boss is recruiting.

“There will be a variety of different players. There will be players in their last couple years of junior B and there will young players who will get better and look to jump up to the next level,” Gervais said. “We want more local kids playing and we want to make it a community hockey club.”

“(Gervais) has a great connection (to the) junior A level,” Gronnestad said. “We want to give these kids a place to play, we don’t want to hold them back. We are here as a stepping stone for them.”

Wolves in a bear cave

When deciding on a team name, the group of West Shore businessmen were hoping to find something that started with a “W” and “Wolves” seemed a good fit.

Initially the men thought of naming the team the Bruins, to pair with the Grizzlies theme, but figured it might not sit well with (local) Canucks fans, stemming from last year’s notorious Stanley Cup finals against Boston.

“We didn’t want Canucks fans hating us,” Gronnestad said.

Feeling a draft?

The VIJHL is considering an  expansion draft this year to populate the lineup for the Wolves, but nothing is solidified yet. A junior B franchise is also in the works for Nanaimo next season.

“Having a draft is something we’ll have to work through with the (teams’) owners. It’s something I would like to see,” said Greg Batters, VIJHL president. “(The West Shore) is lucky to get these guys to come in and save this franchise.”

The Wolves are hosting a development camp July 6 to Aug. 9, at Juan de Fuca arena, for all interested players ages 16 to 20.

Visit Westshorewolves.ca for more.

No news from Nanaimo

VIJHL president Greg Batters is hoping to have Nanaimo’s application approved by B.C. Hockey by the end of the month.

With BCHL’s roster cut from 25 to 21 players,  there is plenty of high-calibre players available on the Island and around B.C. The time is right for the league to expand from seven to nine teams, he said.

 

Just Posted

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

Victoria police continue to look for missing man Tyrone Goertzen and are once again asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police put out another call for help finding missing man

Tyrone Goertzen, 33, was first reported missing June 4

Rachel Rivera (left) and Claire Ouchi are a dynamic art duo known as the WKNDRS. The two painted the new road mural at Uptown. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Artistic mural at Uptown brings creativity, fun to summer shoppers in Saanich

Road installation the largest of its kind in Greater Victoria

Kathy and Doug LaFortune stand next to the new welcome pole now gracing the front entrance of KELSET Elementary School in North Saanich. LaFortune completed the piece after suffering a stroke with the help of his wife and son Bear. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
KELSET school in North Saanich unveils welcome pole on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Carver Doug LaFortune completed pole with the help of his son, wife after suffering a stroke

Colwood council is looking at potential summer weekend closures to traffic of a section of Ocean Boulevard at Esquimalt Lagoon, to allow for more of a park-like setting during summer events such as the popular Eats & Beats event, shown here in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)
Mayor lobbying for summer weekend closures of beachfront Colwood roadway

Rob Martin to bring motion forward to June 28 council meeting

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read