The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The City of Williams Lake is asking for public feedback on whether it should explore the opportunity to host a Greater Metro Hockey League team in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

City of Williams Lake seeks feedback on hosting junior hockey league team

A league expansion application in Quesnel is also pending

The Greater Metro Hockey League is seeking expansion into Williams Lake.

On Thursday, the City of Williams Lake released a survey asking for public feedback while it explores the possibility of hosting a GMHL team in the community.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to bring forward a new hockey team and community sport to complement our Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association and Williams Lake Stampeders,” the city said in a release.

The GMHL brands itself as a “tier II” junior A men’s league and is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada. It started in Ontario in 2007 and expanded into Alberta in 2019 by absorbing some of the former teams of the Western Provinces Hockey Association.

Ian James, director of community services, said the GMHL made a presentation to the Central Cariboo Joint Committee which was approved unanimously on Dec. 16 where both councils asked James to prepare a report on the potential for a team in the league.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, James presented his findings to the joint committee.

“The councillors liked what they heard and thought we should move to the next step, which is more community engagement,” James said.

“In my background check, Williams Lake Minor Hockey and the Williams Lake Stampeders were all supportive and willing to share the ice, and that was a key hurdle for us.”

GMHL west division expansion director Derek Prue recently told Black Press Media the league is hoping to expand into at least three northern B.C. markets next year. League staff would set up the team’s logistics, hire staff and recruit players.

Prue noted the GMHL will not require any capital funding or investment from the city.

At the next joint committee meeting on March 24, a formal decision could potentially be made one way or another.

“We’ll look at the survey results, hear Derek’s answers to some of the questions and concerns and be able to get a pulse of what the community is saying,” James said. “If we’re comfortable with all the terms, a decision would be made after that if everything is progressing nicely.”

If approved, the team would start play in the fall of 2021.

In its request for community feedback the city said they expect the addition of a GMHL team would bring increased tourism, positive publicity and increased opportunity for the community.

READ MORE: GMHL responds to Quesnel critics

The GMHL’s bid to host a team in Quesnel, meanwhile, has come under fire from the Central Interior Hockey League’s Quesnel Kangaroos and the Quesnel and District Minor Hockey Association (QDMHA). Both organizations sent letters to the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee earlier this month questioning whether the city should support a GMHL team.

The QDMHA’s concerns revolved around players bouncing back and forth between affiliated and non-affiliated leagues, along with the GMHL’s issues with stability.

The league expansion application in Quesnel is still pending.

The GMHL’s players pay between $8,000 and $10,000 per year to play in the league, Prue said.

Williams Lake’s last junior A hockey team was the Williams Lake Timberwolves of the BC Hockey League, who played its final season in 2009/10.

– With files from Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer


 


greg.sabatino@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Quesnel RCMP Detachment is one of seven northern police buildings which can now connect directly to Prince George for daily bail hearings. (Observer File Photo)
Bail hearings going virtual in B.C.’s north

A court pilot project will see virtual courtroom cameras set up in seven RCMP detatchments

The proposed renovations at the Quesnel Rec Centre. (CRD Drawing)
CRD approves Quesnel pool referendum date

Voters will be asked to approve borrowing $20 million to upgrade Quesnel Rec Centre

CNC’s Applied Research and Innovation had partnered with the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Cariboo Agricultural Research Alliance and Mackin Creek Farm after receiving funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to research a number of solutions potentially extending northern growing seasons. (Photo submitted)
Ways to extend growing season in B.C.’s north explored by College of New Caledonia in Quesnel

Low-cost supplemental LED lighting appears to benefit plant growth

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Since April 4, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Vancouver the largest source of domestic flights with COVID-19 cases: data

This month alone, 38 flights with COVID-19 cases have departed from Vancouver International Airport, while 23 arrived

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read