The Victoria Grizzlies of the B.C. Hockey League have announced they have reached an agreement on lease terms that will keep the team at the Q Centre Arena for the next five seasons.
After long negotiations with the West Shore Parks and Rec that began in March and stretched through the spring and into the summer, the two sides have put ink to paper on a five-year lease. Financial terms will not be disclosed, per the agreement.
“We’re glad to be able to focus on the ice and not on the boardroom table, and get going in full for planning the 2015-16 season,” said John Wilson, President Victoria Grizzlies.
“As was made known during the process, it was not easy to find a solution that both sides could work with going forward, and I think both sides would agree this is not precisely what they were after. But we are done, we have agreed, and it’s time to play hockey and let the players and coaches provide more great family entertainment.” Said Wilson
“The Grizzlies Ownership, staff and volunteers are passionate about this team and keeping at The Q Centre, and the local community support has been overwhelming. We appreciate all the phone calls, and emails of concern and support that we received over the past few months. The Grizzlies players have been looked on as heroes and an inspiration to this community, and during the negotiating process the community has been the Grizzlies pillar of support and our “Local Hero”, said Sonya Saujani Vice President of Operations.
The Grizzlies have still been out in the community showing their support, with attending the grand opening of the Coastal Community Credit Union, and participating in Mc Happy Day at the local Colwood McDonalds, as well as being in the parade for Buccaneer Days in Esquimalt with many more upcoming events throughout the summer.
The Grizzlies are entering their 21st year in the BCHL, the last 10 years under the Grizzlies nickname after being known as the Salsa. The Grizzlies have sent many players to college and pro ranks, with high-profile alumni such as Jamie Benn, Jordie Benn, Tyson Barrie, and Tyler Bozak.
The BCHL is entering an exciting season as the league has expanded into the US with the addition of the Wenatchee Wild.
“The BCHL is addressing the reality of how hockey has to operate moving forward, and seeing Wenatchee come on board is an indication of the strength of the league’s direction,” said Wilson. “The Grizzlies are glad to be a part of that.”
The season starts September 11th, with training camp set to get underway on August 21st. Head Coach Craig Didmon is entering his sixth season with the club and is excited about his returning veterans and new recruits. Didmon is optimistic that this year’s Grizzlies will again be a league contender and looks forward to the opportunity of striving for the BCHL championship.