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Junior B hockey in Gibsons ready for final stamp of league approval

A junior hockey franchise in Gibsons is one step closer to reality today.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District put its stamp of approval on the plan to bring a Junior-B level team at a meeting this week. With that, the Sunshine Coast Junior Hockey Society (SCJHS) has what it needs to put the finishing touches on a formal bid to present to the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) on June 4th.

SCJHS’s Stuart Frizzell says they’ve got ownership lined up, through the Coastal Sports and Entertainment Group, and the support from businesses and residents is already evident. They hosted a four-game ‘test run’ series, which averaged around 500 people per game and was supported by the sponsorship of almost forty businesses.

While bringing a team to the coast had been met with hesitation before, Frizzell says those games helped quell any concerns across the league.

“The league executives were up and owners attended. They were very impressed by the response from the community,” he says.

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“As soon as they came up and saw what the coast was about and how easy it was to get here, that changed people from worrying about getting on the boat to looking forward to coming up here.”

Some upgrades need to be added to the Gibsons and Area Community Centre before a permanent home can be established. That includes an addition to the building with new dressing rooms, equipment storage, and workout rooms. They’ve already secured the old video board and score clock from Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum to up the quality of experience that the arena can provide.

“The clock itself was installed for the international stage, the 2010 Olympics. It has had international-level events underneath of it,” says Frizzell in a conversation with 91.7 Coast FM last month. “It presided over a decade of [Western Hockey League (WHL)] hockey, so it’s a full-on multi-sport scoreboard.”

The SCRD will enter a five-year agreement with the team and provide a letter of support to the league. Per their agreement, they will be charged $120 per hour for ice time with a 5% increase annually on August 1.

If given approval from the league, they are looking at a year of construction to be ready for the start of the 2024-25 season. No word yet on what the potential team would be called.

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