Friday, April 15, 2011

More on the Chilliwack situation . . .

Have you heard?
The Kootenay Ice hasn’t sent out season-ticket renewals yet!
You may recall that the story of the sale of the Chilliwack Bruins began when fans there became concerned when the team didn’t send out season-ticket renewal forms.
So what’s going on in Cranbrook?
Actually, it turns out the answer is: Nothing.
Sorry, Chilliwack. It turns out this is normal business procedure for the Ice.
“We usually send out our renewals at the end of April with an Early Bird (deadline) at of the end of May,” Jeff Chynoweth, the Ice’s president and general manager, told me via text Thursday night.
Chynoweth, whose Ice has advanced to the Eastern Conference final, added that 2011-12 renewals “will go out early next week. With this playoff run, we decided to get them out earlier than normal.”
And he had some good news for Ice season-ticket holders, too, pointing out that prices will stay the same “for the third consecutive year.”
At the same time, Chynoweth stressed that the Ice really hopes to see an increase in the number of season tickets sold.
“We need to get our season-ticket base back to where it used to be and hopefully around 2,500,” he said.
So . . . Chilliwack fans can stroke the Ice off the list of teams that might replace the soon-to-be departed Bruins. Move the Ice onto the same list as the Prince George Cougars, as teams that are staying put.
Meanwhile, American Hockey League president Dave Andrews, who once coached the WHL’s Victoria Cougars, has stated that his league has a contingency plan involving the Manitoba Moose should the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes return to Winnipeg.
Andrew has yet to offer much in the way of specifics, but all indications are that the plan involves the relocation of the Moose.
Note to Andrews: There is this arena in Chilliwack . . .
Cleve Dheensaw of the Victoria Times Colonist has offered up his opinion of the impending move of the Chilliwack Bruins to the Vancouver Island city. The headline contains the word “bungled.” . . . The piece is right here.
A couple of thoughts on the Chilliwack situation from Bruce Luebke, the radio voice of the Brandon Wheat Kings whose blog, Luber’s Lounge, is over their on the right:
Far be it for me to get involved in the WHL's business but, just for the record, the situation with the Chilliwack Bruins and their impending move to Victoria smells really bad for all involved. What makes it even tougher to fathom is the fact that the owners of the Bruins bailed out on Tri-City and, basically, blackmailed the WHL into giving them an expansion franchise five years ago. Perhaps the WHL should be a little more cautious about whom them let into their exclusive ownership club!
By the way, do you think that the other WHL owners that were at least partly responsible for putting the Bruins' in a perilous position care? Of course, I'm talking about the Calgary Flames, who decided two years ago to place their AHL team in Abbotsford and helped erode the market for Chilliwack. I'm guessing the answer is no!
Travis Paterson, the sports reporter for Black Press in Greater Victoria, has a different take on the hockey situation in the B.C. capital. He compares the ECHL’s Victoria Salmon Kings, who are into the second round of playoffs despite a bushel of uncertainty, to the Johnstown Chiefs of Slap Shot fame.
Paterson’s piece is right here.
Meanwhile, Tyler Olsen of the Chilliwack Times is hearing that Moray Keith, a minority owner in the Chilliwack Bruins’ group, is still hoping to land another WHL franchise for that city. Olsen’s latest story is right here.
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