Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vees' are Doyle Cup Champions:

The Penticton Vees have capped off a miraculous season by defeating the Brooks Bandits 6-2 Friday night in front of a sold out South Okanagan Events Centre to claim the 2012 Doyle Cup Championship. With the win, the Vees' advance to the RBC Cup, Canada's National Junior A Championships. Humboldt, Saskatchewan will play host to the tournament which begins Saturday May 5th at 2:00 PM with the Vees' taking on the Soo Thunderbirds. Here is the official release from the BCHL Website.
(Vees team photo courtesy Roger Tepper/EDGE Photography)

For the fourth consecutive year, the BCHL will have a team at the RBC Cup thanks to the Penticton Vees' Game 5 win over the Brooks Bandits that secured the team's first Doyle Cup since 1986.

Joey Benik tallied twice in the first period and completed a hat trick before the midway point of the second as Penticton carved out a 5-1 lead heading into the final frame. Benik's second goal, with just under four minutes to go in the opening frame, proved to be the winner.

Just as in Wednesday's Game 4 win, the Vees' power play was deadly connecting three times on six chances.
For Brooks, Colton Semenok's man-advantage goal early in the second gave the visitors a pulse briefly but Benik's third just under eight minutes later restored the Vees three-goal lead, brought a flurry of hats to the ice and chased Jan Obernesser from the Bandits net in favour of Michael Fredrick.
Steven Fogarty scored twice for the Vees, both goals were on the man advantage, and his second tally late in the middle frame all but crushed any hope the Bandits had left.
Brooks' Chris Muscoby scored late in the third period, shortly after Bryce Gervais had scored the Penticton's sixth, but the Vees were still able to storm the ice when the final horn sounded in a celebratory pile on goaltender Michael Garteig in the right-wing corner of their defensive zone.

Garteig made 31 saves in the win and improves to 3-1 in the postseason.

Penticton will be the last team to have its name engraved on the Doyle Cup as the four western Junior A leagues will play in the inaugural Western Canada Cup starting next year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

St. Albert Junior Hockey Fate To Be Decided:

As I'm sure plenty of our readers are aware, there are a few teams around Western Canada that are dealing with the potential of relocation, including the AJHL's St. Albert Steel. Should the Steel be moving, there is a good chance it will be Whitecourt, a industry-minded community about an hour and a half Northwest of Edmonton. The AJHL will meet May 3rd in Red Deer to vote on the relocation of the Steel to the home of the Wolverines, an NWJHL club that most recently picked up a bronze medal at the Keystone Cup in Saskatoon.

Here is the release from the Edmonton Journal on Tuesday:

EDMONTON - Barring a significant breakthrough, St. Albert is about to lose its junior A hockey team for the second time in less than a decade.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League’s St. Albert Steel applied in late March for relocation to Whitecourt for the 2012-13 season.
The request, which was submitted by Steel owner Greg Parks (who was unavailable for comment Monday), came after the team was unable to reach an agreement with the City of St. Albert to extend the lease agreement at Servus Credit Union Place. The agreement expires on Aug. 31.
The AJHL set up a relocation committee to look at the situation.
“We will have a full board meeting on May 2 in Red Deer to discuss the findings of the relocation meeting and I would assume, at that time, (league) chairman Greg Wood will probably call a vote on the relocation request,” AJHL president Craig Cripps said. “Unless something drastic happens in that meeting, I would expect that a vote would be taken. To garner a relocation, the Steel will have to have two-thirds of the support of the governors.
St. Albert lost the Saints to Spruce Grove after 27 seasons in 2004. Now the city is in danger of also having the Steel leave after five seasons.
“I can tell you that the committee has done a good job as far as following the protocols and what information has to be submitted,” said Cripps.
The relocation committee has talked to all parties involved, including St. Albert mayor Nolan Crouse, who presented the city’s side of the debate earlier this month.
“The municipality certainly thinks it’s doing all that it can to keep the franchise in St. Albert, but obviously, if there’s two groups, both the team and the city have to think it’s beneficial to both,” Cripps said. “Certainly (the mayor) was doing what he needed to do from the standpoint of being the mayor of the city, not wanting to lose the team.”
St. Albert, which hasn’t been in lease negotiations with the Steel since Parks filed for relocation, awaits the league’s decision.
“I will allow the process to go forward, because it’s a process that is intended to be based on supposed objectivity by the board of governors and they have to make that decision,” Crouse said.
Whitecourt mayor Trevor Thain hasn’t spoken with the AJHL during the process, but was cautiously optimistic about scoring a junior A team after a failed bid to attract the Lloydminster franchise a year ago.
“At that time, we met with the AJHL and gave our support for that move, however, that move didn’t come about, but it gave the AJHL the opportunity to take a look at our community and what we have to offer,” Thain said. “They thought it would be a really good fit for a junior A team to come here.
“We’re a great hockey town. People love their hockey here and we have a great hockey program. We have a hockey school here and it’s really well supported by the community at large.”
As for St. Albert’s recent struggles to hold down a franchise, Cripps realizes that AJHL teams near major markets are fighting an uphill battle.
“I know through discussions with our governors in St. Albert, Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove that being close to big cities for junior A hockey is difficult,” Cripps said. “They try hard, but there’s a lot of competition for that entertainment dollar.”
Cripps was clear that when it comes to franchise movement, the AJHL is focused on following the strict protocols which have been set out over the last several seasons.
“If we are going to move franchises, the AJHL isn’t about skipping from community to community. We take pride in how we operate and certainly want to make sure we’re following a process here.”


I also decided to put together my own concept jersey of what the Whitecourt team may look like if they keep the name Steel but expand to the modern-LA Kings uniform design. Enjoy :)



Bandits Show Life, Now Trail Series 2-1:


Game Puck- Image Credit to Geoff Carter
Down 2-0 in the series and 2-0 late in the second period of Game 3, the Brooks Bandits summoned the effort necessary to earn a 4-3 comeback win over the Penticton Vees making the Doyle Cup a much more interesting series.

After a scoreless first period, Travis St. Denis thrilled the crowd of 3,006 as he poked the puck loose in the neutral zone and went in on a partial breakaway to slip the puck past Jan Obernesser making it 1-0 Vees.

Curtis Loik doubled the Vees lead later in the period at the end of an effective Vees shift in the Bandits’ zone. Loik put the puck through the legs of a Brooks defenceman and then beat Obernesser to make it 2-0.

But the Bandits did not roll over and go away. Just after a lengthy delay as goalie Obernesser appeared to be shaking off an injury and with just more than two minutes to go in the second, Matt Wilkins deflected a shot past Michael Garteig to get Brooks on the board. Shortly after that, Cam MacLise tied it up 2-2 just before the teams skated off for the second intermission.

Penticton retook the lead early in the third on Mario Lucia’s second goal of the series but the Vees couldn’t make it stand up as they proceeded to be penalized twice in the final frame giving the Bandits life. At 8:05, it was MacLise again tying the game with a power-play goal. Overtime appeared a possibility but with 1:48 to go, defenceman Colton Semenok fired a perfect shot beating Garteig high for the game-winner.

The road team has now won each game of the series. Game 4 is slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the South Okanagan Events Centre. 



SCORING 1 2 3 TOTAL
Brooks Bandits 0 2 2 4
Penticton Vees 0 2 1 3
SHOTS 1 2 3 TOTAL
Brooks Bandits 8 9 12 29
Penticton Vees 8 14 12 34
POWER PLAYS
Brooks Bandits 2 for 4 (50.0%)
Penticton Vees 0 for 2 (00.0%)

GAME DETAILS
GAME DATE Apr. 24, 2012
LOCATION South Okanagan Events Centre
VENUE
START TIME 7:00PM
REFEREE 1 Jeff Ingram
REFEREE 2 Nick Swaine
LINESMAN 1 Bevan Mills
LINESMAN 2 Mike Langin
SCOREKEEPER Peter Tremblay
ATTENDANCE 3006
GAME NUMBER 7747


SCORING SUMMARY
PERIOD 1
No Scoring
PERIOD 2
Penticton Vees at 11:14 - Travis St. Denis (unassisted)
Penticton Vees at 12:51 - Curtis Loik from Logan Johnston
Brooks Bandits at 17:55 - Matt Wilkins from Matt Tyson and Cam Maclise
Brooks Bandits at 19:30 (PP) - Cam Maclise (unassisted)
PERIOD 3
Penticton Vees at 1:51 - Mario Lucia from Travis St. Denis and Wade Murphy
Brooks Bandits at 8:05 (PP) - Cam Maclise from Dylan Nowakowski and Matt Wilkins
Brooks Bandits at 18:11 - Colton Semenok (unassisted)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vees Grab 2-0 Lead In Doyle Cup:


After two games in Alberta, the Doyle Cup Best of 7 series will now shift back to the Peach City. The Penticton Vees defeated the Brooks Bandites 1-0 in Game 2 to take a 2-0 series lead after winning Game 1 by a convincing score of 7-2.

After being outscored 8-2 on home ice, Brooks needs to change something up, and fast; or the Doyle Cup will belong to the Vees in 2012. Thanks to Mr. Fraser Rodgers, the voice of the Vees, here is a link to his blog, along with his Game 2 recap!

Michael Garteig marked his return to the line-up with a sparkling forty-three save performance, as the Penticton Vees edged the Brooks Bandits 1-0 on Saturday.
The Vees lead the best-of-seven series 2-0, with game three shifting to Penticton on Tuesday.
As in game one, the Vees opened the scoring on the power-play in the first period. Wade Murphy scored his second goal of the series at 5:48, as he finished off a pretty passing play in close. Steven Fogarty walked skated in from the corner before firing a pass through the defenders legs and out front to Murphy, who put his shot through the legs of Jan Obernesser; the goal would stand as the game-winner.
The Vees missed an opportunity to double their lead when they were given five-on-three power-play moments after the Murphy goal. Despite continuous pressure and several scoring chances the Vees couldn’t beat Obernesser to go up by two.
Brooks turned up the pressure in the latter half of the period but couldn’t beat Mike Garteig on any of their eighteen first period shots.
The Bandits continued to pressure the Vees and Garteig in the second period, peppering the goaltender with twelve more shots but couldn’t break the goose-egg. Garteig’s second period performance was highlighted by a miraculous arm save on Cam Maclise; Garteig, with his back to Maclise, lunged out his glove in desperation to knock the puck down. The second was also highlighted by the Vees strong penalty-kill, as they kept the Bandits power-play at bay despite going down short-handed four times.
In the third the Vees thwarted a determined Bandits attack as the home team tried desperately to tie the game. The Vees themselves had several good scoring opportunities off the rush but were stymied by the sharp goaltending of Obernesser who finished with twenty-nine saves.
The Bandits made one final push in the dying seconds of the third, with the extra-attacker but were turned away by several key blocked shots and timely saves from the Vees netminder.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Doyle Cup- Penticton vs Brooks:




And then there were two.....


The Brooks Bandits have been crowned as AJHL Champions.
The Penticton Vees walked away with the BCHL title as expected.

Now, both teams will collide in the 2012 Doyle Cup, with the winner earning a pass to the RBC Cup, to be held May 5-13 in Humboldt, Saskatchewan!

Brooks finished the Alberta League season tied with Spruce Grove with a record of 47-7-0-6 and 100 points, while Penticton set records with a 54-4-0-2 record, including a Canadian record 42 game winning streak, while the finished 26 points ahead of 2nd overall, with 110 points.

Here's the lowdown on the two teams, and who has advantages in different areas of the game according to my own personal opinion and statistical figures from the BCHL/AJHL websites as well as dropyourgloves.com

OFFENSE- Penticton Vees
The Bandits scored 273 times in 60 games this season, which is an average of 4.55 goals per game. Penticton scored 334 goals, or 5.57 a game. These teams are offensive dynamos. The only other team to break 250 goals between the two leagues was Fort McMurray, who scored 254 times. Brooks had 6 players who achieved a PPG or more, while the Vees had 9, including 4 of the top 5 scorers in the league(Brooks had 3 in the top 5). In the playoffs, Brooks scored an average 4 goals/game while Penticton averaged under 3.5. Playoffs are a whole new season, and judging by the type of players these two teams possess, I will give the offensive edge to the Penticton Vees

DEFENSE- Brooks Bandits
Both teams possessed top notch defensive abilities this season, with the Bandits taking a SLIGHT advantage. And by slight, I mean slight. The Vees allowed just two more goals than Brooks, bringing their total to 133(Brooks allowed 131). Starting netminder Jan Obernesser, won 36 of his 46 starts and his team got 37 goals from defensemen(14% of their offense) while in the playoffs, the team got 7 more from the point. Penticton has been a similar story; although just 14 goals came from defensmen OTHER than Mike Reilly, who scored 24 goals for the Vees. In perspective, Reilly scored more goals than all but 3 Bandits. In the post season though, the team has been without league-leading goaltender Michael Garteig, and Reilly has been held to just one goal, while getting 4 goals from other point-men. I give the slight edge to the Brooks Bandits due to their defensive depth and experience.




TOUGHNESS- Brooks Bandits
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Vees focused on sniping gino's bar down and getting huge saves from their netminders all season long. They had players drop the gloves just 24 times, which was the 2nd fewest in the BCHL. Of those 24 fights, 10 of them would occur in multi-fight games, like just 14 fights for the remaining 55 games of the season. Brooks would achieve 15 fights in 6 games, leaving them with 36 fights through the remaining 54 games. I know there are some kids on the Bandits that will drop the mitts with any one in either league, and I feel that throughout the series, the toughness of Brooks will be the difference maker. But, all being said, the Bandits have to stay out of the box more. They took more than DOUBLE the penalty minutes the Vees did. (1683 min vs 815 min) 5 different Bandits had 100+ PIMS while no Vee players broke over 90 minutes of penalties. Since the playoffs began, Brooks has compiled 337 PIMs, while Penticton has spent just 185 minutes in the box. Brooks has far more players that will throw the body around, and the Vees will be battered and bruised early on in this series. Advantage Bandits!

SPECIAL TEAMS- Brooks Bandits
In the regular season, Brooks had a 30.35% Powerplay, scoring 105 goals on 346 opportunities, which was good for first in the AJHL. Penticton lead the BCHL with a 31.36 percentage, scoring 90 goals on 287 chances. Both teams have players who can wire the puck from the point, including Vee Mike Reilly and Bandit Colton Semeno, who both scored 10 goals on the PP in the regular season. In the playoffs, Brooks went 22-for-85(25.88%) on the man advantage, while the Vees went just 7-for-36(19.44%).
On the other side of things, Brooks finished 5th in the AJHL in Penalty Kill Percentage, with 86.31%, while the Vees topped the BC League with a 85.11% PK. The Bandits were shorthanded 61 more times then the Vees, and killed off just 7 less then this years Fred Page Cup champions. In the post season, both teams have improved, as Penticton has killed off 90.38% of their penalties, while the Bandits hold another edge, killing off 91.18 percent of theirs. This is where I think these teams will have the closest battle, but because I am only relying on stats, the advantage goes to the Brooks Bandits.

DEPTH- Penticton Vees
Just TWO Vees forwards failed to reach the ten goal plateau, including 16 year old(now 17) Cody DePourcq and homegrown Grant Nicholson. Brooks had eight players finish below the 10 goal milestone. Also, Brooks had 3 players surpass 30 goals while the Vees had 8. Not all of these players scored all their goals with their respective teams, as a few select players were acquired mid-season, including 91-point man Wade Murphy, who scored 14 goals with the Vees(36 total) and Bryce Gervais, who got 26 of his 42 goals as a Vee. This area requires no more definition as the Vees clearly have the depth charts filled with stars, while the Bandits will require their big 4, 5 or 6 players to play at 110% if they wish to be successful. Penticton, you have more depth than any Junior Hockey team I have ever seen.

GOALTENDING- Brooks Bandits
Here is the one area of the game I feel very uneasy about choosing an advantage. Jan Obernesser has a 2.16 GAA and a .915 Save Percentage, but if you don't include the Bandits first four playoff games against Calgary, those numbers change significantly; a 1.90 GAA and a .939 Save Percentage. For the Vees, starter Michael Garteig last played on February 26th and is doubtful to return in the Doyle Cup, but backup netminder Chad Katunar has held the weight in relief through the playoff run. After putting up dismal numbers in his rookie season, Katunar has allowed more then 3 goals just 3 times this post season. He has a 1.73 GAA and a .938 save percentage, and has made several saves that have kept his team in the game. I like the play of both netminders, but I am unsure Katunar will be able to hold off the strong, go to the net style that Brooks plays. Goaltending edge goes to the Enerflex Cup champpion Brooks Bandits.


FINAL THOUGHTS
Both of these teams are so talented and to my belief, have what it takes to win an RBC. But the question is, who will it be? Well.... I hope I helped clear up a few differences and similarities between these two clubs. I think both arenas will be packed to the rafters, and both will be loud and proud. I would like to wish the best of luck to both teams, and to all the fans, enjoy the series! If you disagree with my personal opinion or have any comments, please comment (in a respectful manner) and share your thoughts! Also, I would like to extend best wishes to Dakota Mason and RJ Reed of the Brooks Bandits, friends of mine who have worked hard to get to where they are. I interviewed RJ earlier this season and you can catch his one-on-one interview HERE.

DOYLE CUP SCHEDULE

VEES LEAD SERIES 2-0

Game 1 - Friday, April 20th, 2012 in Alberta PENTICTON WINS 7-2
Game 2 - Saturday, April 21st, 2012 in Alberta PENTICTON WINS 1-0
Game 3 - Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 in Penticton
Game 4 - Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 in Penticton
Game 5 - Friday, April 27th, 2012 in Penticton
*IF NECESSARY
Game 6 - Saturday, April 28th, 2012
in Penticton
*IF NECESSARY
Game 7 - Sunday, April 29th, 2012
in Penticton
*IF NECESSARY






Thursday, April 5, 2012

BCHL Fred Page Cup Preview:




The Powell River Kings are set to face off with the mighty Penticton Vees in the BCHL Fred Page Cup final. This is the first time in 3 seasons we will not see a Powell River vs Vernon final, and with Vernon winning all 3 of those, this series will crown a new champion, with the winner moving on to the Doyle Cup against either the Fort McMurray Oil Barons or the Brooks Bandits. Here is a look at the series from the perspective of Alex Rawnsley, the Kings play by play guy.

If you follow my blog, you will know that Alex and I have worked together recently, and I would really like to encourage you to take a listen in on his broadcasts. His style is so unique and mixed with the Australian accent, I promise you that you won't want to turn the game off until it's done.

If you do want to listen, just click this link during game time, or visit his blog HERE!


*note* If you would like a different perspective of the final, I also would love if you visited Fraser Rodger's blog, Fraser is an ex-King PxP guy and is now working with the Vees. Click HERE to go to the Three Vees Blog.



Here is what Alex has to say:
Following a series against the Eagles which so closely followed history, the Kings and Vees will embark on a Fred Page Cup Final series that has never been seen before and it will be the first match up since December 2011. It will be a battle of the top two teams in the regular season, a fight between the league’s best offence (Penticton – 334 GF) and the league’s best defense (Powell River – 127 GA). If that’s not enough, add in the fact that Penticton had the league’s 2nd best defense, while the Kings had the league’s 3rd best offense (behind Coquitlam, who the Kings beat in round 1).

Last Meetings
It’s hard to match any cross-conference teams up. With the schedule the way things are, the Kings only saw the Vees once this year. The Vees were rolling and took advantage of a tired and injured Kings lineup, getting out to a 7-0 lead before the Kings got two goals in the 3rd for a 7-2 result in the 2nd last game prior to the Christmas break. The Kings lost Tanner Cochrane early in that game to a fractured collar bone, and were down to one goaltender in Jamie Phillips due to an injury to Sean Maguire. The Vees went 3/4 on the power play, the Kings countered with 1/5 and former King Michael Garteig made 22 saves in a win against his former team.
Much has changed for both teams, so I would imagine very little (if anything) will be taken from that result. For example, both starting goaltenders from that game are gone. Jamie Phillips is in Ontario and Mike Garteig is on the sidelines (although there are rumors that Garteig will play against his old team). That’s just scratching the surface.

New Faces
The trade deadline impacted both teams heavily. The Kings added 4 new faces, all of whom have had a huge impact on the team in the regular season, but especially the playoffs. JP Villeneuve, Brendon MacDonald and Teal Burns sit 4th, 5th and 6th in team scoring through 11 games, with Villeneuve leading the team during the Coquitlam series. Goaltender Jonah Imoo has had his impact too, sporting a 1-0 record by making 17 of 17 saves in relief of Sean Maguire in game 5 against the Express. Add that to his regular season numbers and his contributions can’t be overlooked.
The Vees added at the deadline as well, through Wade Murphy from the Victoria Grizzlies. He leads the Vees in scoring in the playoffs, including the game winning goal against the Centennials in game 4 during the 2nd overtime period. Murphy’s 15 points (7 goals) in the playoffs adds to his 29 points in 22 games during the regular season and makes him a very dangerous pickup.

Historical Head to Head
In regular season play over the last five years, the Kings are 3-5 against the Vees, while being outscored 29-22. The last win against Penticton came on January 25th, 2011, it was a 4-1 win on the 2nd leg of a home-and-home series (the Kings lost leg 1 4-1 in Penticton). The Kings haven’t won in Penticton in the last five years, with all three wins coming in Powell River. Whilst that might seem like a daunting statistic, breaking it down further proves how even these two teams could be. Shots on goal through 8 regular season games over the last 5 years total 232-229 in favor of the Vees, while special teams are even closer, with both teams 10/42 (23.81%) on the foreplay.
This series will also be the latest meeting in the last five years, with all games between the two sides played before the end of January (January 25th the latest game).

Playoff Experience
Given the fact that this will be the Kings 4th Fred Page Cup Finals appearance in the last four years, the Kings have a big advantage in playoff experience. Over the past five years, the Kings have played in 76 playoff games compared to the Vees 61. Leading the way for the Kings is Steven Schmidt. His 43 playoff games leads all Kings in this series, and Steven has been a big part of the last three Kings teams during the playoffs. Also long in the tooth, Teagan Waugh who has played in 34 playoff games for the Kings. This number would be much higher had Teagan not missed last year’s playoffs. All of the two-year Kings also carry with them a large amount of playoff experience. Cohen Adair, Jon Jutzi and Chris Williams all have 28 games under their belt, Daniel Schuler and Craig Dalrymple just behind with 27 games. Not to be forgotten, “new” Kings Evan Richardson (24 with Victoria, Alberni and Powell River), and Teal Burns (37 with Nanaimo, Victoria and Powell River, plus 4 WHL playoff games).
For the Vees, it’s all Logan Johnston. 46 playoff games is tops for any player in this series, as he’s been a mainstay for the Vees over the last four years. With his graduation to UMass Lowell next season, the veteran will obviously want to cap off a career on a high. Following Johnston, Nick Buchanan has suited up 27 times, with Bryce Gervais has 26 games of playoff experience between Penticton and Salmon Arm. Behind that, it’s a lot of players on 20 games (including the 11 from this year), these include Joey Benik, Troy Stecher, Curtis Loik and Kyle Beaulieu.

Other Points of Note
  • There are three former Kings on the Vees roster from last year’s team. Michael Garteig, voice of the Vees Fraser Rodgers and defenseman Zach Urban, who played in five regular season and one playoff game for the Kings.
So that gives you a general idea of the history between these two teams. At the end of the day, it means not a whole lot, but even with the fact that these two teams have crossed paths only 8 times in the last 5 years, you can see that there are some trends that play out. There’s no question that the Vees have had an impressive season, but this Kings team is perhaps the best one yet. It has depth, talent, grit and experience…all qualities which are magnified at this time of year. Game 1 gets underway Friday in Penticton, a 7:00pm face off.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grizz Potentially Re-Locating to 100 Mile House:

Alright, as many of you know, I am not just a broadcaster, but an ex-KIJHL player. And today, I got some shocking news from within that league that may completely change the way I view the people associated with this team. The REVELSTOKE GRIZZLIES have released to the public their intentions of selling the team to an ownership group in 100 MILE HOUSE, where they will then re-locate the Grizzlies, and rename them the WRANGLERS. This is absolutely the most disappointing news I have heard in some time.

To the people of Revelstoke, I hope you understand that you have nothing to do with this. And if the team does indeed leave, I hope the league plans on bringing you back in immediately; you have established yourself as one of the classiest communities and hardest working in the entire KIJHL, and you deserve nothing less then the best.

SO, Here you have it. The article with their intentions. From the Revelstoke Times Review. Credit to Alex Cooper of the Times Review for the article.

Declining attendance, lack of corporate support and mounting financial losses are being cited as the reason for the sale of the Revelstoke Grizzlies to 100 Mile House, says the team's principal owner.
"The corporate sponsorship has gone down dramatically over the last three years," Michael Roberts told the Times Review Tuesday morning. "The attendance has dropped over the last three years to the point where it's just not financially viable to keep operating. The expenses to run the team are rising and we just don't have the full support."
The Times Review reported Monday morning that the Grizzlies ownership group, which also includes Lou Hendrickson and Joe Kozek, had filed an application with the league to sell the team to a group in 100 Mile House.
The sale still needs approval from the KIJHL's board of governors, which will be meeting on May 6 to vote on the issue. Approval from the board requires more than 50 per cent of the vote.
Roberts did not return phone calls immediately on Monday but he spoke to the Times Review on Tuesday. He said attendance had been declining since he purchased the team three years ago.
"We've done everything we can," he said. "We kept the ticket prices the same for three years. We put out a product that was strong and to recruit that product takes money, you have to sell kids on the community."
The sale of the team had been rumoured for several months but an application to move the team was not filed until April 1.
According to the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society, which owned the team before it was sold to private interests in 2006, there is a clause stipulating the team must be kept in Revelstoke until 2016.
However, Roberts said there was a $25,000 buy-out clause for the society if the team was sold.
"Out of the proceeds from the sale there's a cheque for them," he said. "I have a debt to the community I have to repay and this is the only way I can see to repay it."
He said no local interests had come through to purchase the team.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies Society is holding it's AGM tonight (Tuesday) at 7 p.m. at the Revelstoke Forum. Roberts was undecided on attending.
"The society couldn't run it before and I don't know what answers they're going to have," he said.
The Grizzlies have been in Revelstoke since 1991. The current ownership group took over the team at the start of the 2009-10 season and that year, the team won the Keystone Cup as Western Canadian Champions.