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LETTER: Junior hockey dream for Quesnel possibly dashed by local gov

KIJHL franchise proponent says City Hall demanding too much for Kangaroos
A KIJHL franchise could begin playing in Quesnel soon, but faces new financial obstacle imposed by local government. (File Photo)


Open letter to the citizens of Quesnel

I am writing to you today with a heavy heart and a profound sense of disappointment as I share some unfortunate news regarding plans to bring a Junior-A hockey team to our community.

Earlier this week, the North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee passed a resolution that would require any potential junior franchise to provide $100,000 each year to the Quesnel Kangaroos Senior men’s team from the sponsor advertising that our team would sell at the West Fraser Centre. Having to guarantee these funds to the Kangaroos would represent our largest single cost and would make running a successful Junior-A franchise in Quesnel impossible from Day 1.

This was an unexpected development, as the finish line towards a Junior-A franchise seemed to be in sight just a week ago. The North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee had provided a letter unanimously supporting the creation of a team and we were working closely with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to put a team on the ice this fall. However, the resolution passed this week means there will be no Junior hockey in Quesnel at any point in the near future.

I have great respect for the tradition of Kangaroos Senior hockey and was fully prepared to split proceeds from arena advertising with their team in a fair manner. There is no question that the proposed financial obligations placed on us by this resolution are not equitable or manageable.

Quesnel is a great hockey town that deserves a Junior hockey team to cheer for. It has always been my understanding that the West Fraser Centre was built for this exact purpose. We had envisioned this Junior-A team as a source of pride for our community, fostering a sense of unity and providing entertainment for all. We wanted to provide our youth with the opportunity to aspire to play Junior hockey in their hometown, in front of family and friends.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, these recent developments make it impossible for us to make this vision a reality.

We want to express our sincere gratitude for the support and enthusiasm many of you have shown for the idea of having a Junior-A hockey team in our community. It is with great disappointment that we deliver this news, and we share in your frustration over the unexpected obstacles that have arisen.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out. We value the input of our community members and are open to continued dialogue.

Thank you for your understanding.

Rob McMillan

Quesnel Thunder Junior-A Hockey Club