Quesnel could be in line for a franchise in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL).
The GMHL brands themselves as a “tier II” junior A league and is not sanctioned by Hockey Canada.
Expansion Director for the GMHL’s west division, Derek Prue, made a presentation to the North Cariboo Joint Advisory Committee on Jan. 12. He said the league was interested in Quesnel because of the facilities and player base in the region.
The GMHL started in Ontario in 2007, and expanded into Alberta in 2019 by absorbing some of the former teams of the Western Provinces Hockey Association.
Prue said 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 asked the committee for “competitive ice rates,” a dedicated dressing room, in-arena advertising and access to liquor sale revenue. He added the GMHL will pay minor hockey game rates for 21 home games and reduced rates for daytime practises.
The city of Quesnel’s Director of Community Services, Jeff Norburn said he expected to bring a preliminary impact assessment to the board in February, with a formalized agreement potentially to council as soon as March.
Quesnel has not had a junior hockey team since 2011, when the BCHL’s Quesnel Millionaires played their last game in the league. An application for a KIJHL junior B team from Quesnel was denied in January of 2017.
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