The Western States Hockey League would like to bring a Junior A hockey team to the Town of Bruderheim.
At a special Town Council meeting, May 27, Brian Brown and Ron White, from the WSHL, made a presentation to council in hopes that not only will council approve their plans to bring a junior A hockey team to town, but begin moving forward for an October start.
The WSHL are based out of the United States but have been reaching into Canada over the past year, the pair said. They currently have 26 teams participating in their league with four teams coming from Alberta – Meadowlake, Hinton, Edson, and Cold Lake.
This year, WSHL is looking at adding teams in Slave Lake, Jasper and Bruderheim.
“We are excited about the opportunity to have teams up here,” said Ron White, commissioner with WSHL. “Our basis for having teams anywhere is to bring our expertise in.”
Players must be at least 15.5 years old in September and be living at home. Players aged 16 – 20 can be billeted, and a 21-year-old can only play if he is still 20 on December 31.
Councillor Len Falardau expressed concern the local arena would not be large enough to hold a crowd that would make it financially feasible for the team to exist.
White was not concerned with the size of the arena, citing other arenas whose capacity is much smaller than Bruderheim’s. Once outfitted with standardized seating, the Karol Maschmeyer Arena could seat 350 people.
“You are businessmen and at the end of the day you have to make money,” said Falardeau.
Councillor Wayne Olechow was interested in what WSHL would need from the town in order to make the package a reality.
“We need your ice, installed standardized seating, spiritual support and billeted parents,” said Brown.
Other concerns from council included how sponsorships would be handled, security during games, insurance coverage, beer sales and name recognition.
Brown and White both explained that sponsorships would happen by way of ice logos and board advertisements, while security could be taken care of by way of local non-profit groups who have taken their Pro Serve training.
Brown added that they carry twelve million dollars in insurance coverage, and a liquor license can be obtained for beer sales to happen during hockey games.
The name Heartland Comets for the new team was suggested by White and Brown.
Mayor Karl Hauch was not in favour, adding that if Bruderheim were to support such an initiative their name must be prominent in the name of the team.
While time is of the essence in making this particular decision, council has voted to investigate this opportunity further and bring more concrete information to the next council meeting where a decision can be made.
The next council meeting is June 5 at 6:15 pm.
Written by: Jana Semeniuk