A prospective Quesnel junior B franchise could call the West Fraser Centre home. (File photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

A prospective Quesnel junior B franchise could call the West Fraser Centre home. (File photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Quesnel KIJHL franchise gets support from city, regional district

The prospective junior B franchise is looking for league approval later this year

A KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) franchise in Quesnel is one step closer to reality. The Cariboo Regional District and city threw their support behind the expansion bid at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

The meeting agenda was shortened due to the large fire at the West Fraser Log Yard on the Quesnel-Hixon road, which was raging during the meeting.

The franchise, which would share a name with the Quesnel Thunder minor hockey team, still needs league approval. The KIJHL board of governors are set to meet before the end of 2021 to approve or deny the bid.

In a letter sent to the committee, the team’s prospective president of hockey operations, Cory Broadhead, said the team has received letters of support from the Quesnel Chamber of Commerce and minor hockey.

READ MORE: Quesnel KIJHL expansion bid has owner, community meetings planned for August

“We owe it to our younger hockey players to have the option to play in front of there hometown family and friends. In addition, we plan to work in collaboration with Quesnel & District Minor Hockey Association (QDMHA) to develop elite players in all age groups to improve their skills,” his letter to the committee reads.

“We will look to sign and affiliate as many local players as we can to stay competitive.”

The franchise would pay an annual fee for a dedicated dressing room, office space, ice time and advertising rights. Advertising rights are currently held by the Quesnel Kangaroos senior hockey team.

Broadhead said he was confident the team would be able to work with the Kangaroos.

“(We) feel the two teams will not function in a game of tug-a-war, but more operate in synergy with a partnership that foster strong ongoing connections that will have a positive impact within the local community,” he said.

Junior hockey hasn’t called Quesnel home since 2011, when the junior A Quesnel Millionaires relocated to Chilliwack. An earlier bid to bring a KIJHL franchise to Quesnel was shot down by the league’s board of governors in 2018.

Over a half-dozen Quesnel players are in the KIJHL this season, including Jack Henderson, the league’s overall points leader, who plays for the Osoyoos Coyotes.

If the bid is approved, the team would play 25 home games at the West Fraser Centre, beginning in September of 2022.

READ MORE: New public health orders send Quesnel captain of KIJHL franchise home

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: cassidy.dankochik@quesnelobserver.com


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