Hames weighs in on Bruin rumours

The irony is not lost on former Chilliwack mayor Clint Hames, who has spent plenty of time lately thinking about the parallels of yesterday and today.

In the present, the Western Hockey League team he helped bring to Chilliwack is rumoured to be leaving, with some media sources reporting sale and relocation to Victoria as a ‘done deal.’ B.C.’s capital is being cast in the same light as Chilliwack was six years ago, a market of vast untapped potential ready for major junior hockey.

Chilliwack’s star has dimmed, to the point where it now plays the role of the Tri-City Americans, circa 2005 — a market with dwindling attendance and unrealized potential that may soon find itself abandoned by the league it embraced.

We know the Americans dodged the relocation bullet, their ownership group granted an expansion franchise in the Fraser Valley. It appears increasingly unlikely that Chilliwack will be so lucky.

What bothers Hames the most is the way it’s playing out.

“There were serious and substantial offers to buy the team and keep it in Chilliwack and I made both Brian Burke (Bruins co-owner) and Ron Robison (WHL comissioner) aware of this,” he said, referring to a publicized offer led by Bruins co-owners Moray Keith and Jim Bond. “Brian Burke confirmed to me that they were not considering any other offers – for whatever reason.  He, (Darryl) Porter and (Glen) Sather have a controlling interest in the team, so what Moray and Jim Bond wanted wouldn’t matter as they were minority shareholders.”

Unconfirmed reports this week had the Keith bid sitting well above a bid from Victoria businessman Graham Lee of RG Properties, and Keith has gone on record stating his group is willing and able to out-bid anything that isn’t completely outlandish.

“If the team is sold to Victoria, it flies in the face of what the league has said publicly,” Hames noted. “Mr. Robison has said that the league’s preference is not to move teams. If the team still moves with a bona fide offer in place to keep it in Chilliwack, this would seem to be an rather erroneous and questionable statement by the commissioner.”

Hames holds out hope that the situation can be salvaged and he maintains his belief that the WHL can flourish in Chilliwack, given the right circumstances.

“Unfortunately, the combination of team performance and a period of economic downturn hurt the team, with the Abbotsford Heat issue having a marginal impact,” he said. “I am sure that Moray and Jim (and the community) would like to see the WHL remain, and clearly, there are other people like (Minnesota Twins baseball player) Justin Morneau who also believe in this market. The fact that there was at least one serious offer on the table to keep the team in Chilliwack meant that there is belief in the market.”

Just Posted

Fish farm foes take heart from pledge to take aquaculture out of B.C. waters

PM sets timeline for five years to transition fish farming out of ocean in B.C.

New arts-technology focused high school coming to Chilliwack for 2021

Education Minister announces $15.4 million and January construction start for new southside school

Planning price tag revealed for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

Petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

Almost 1,300 signatures collected calling for all campus bathrooms to be stocked

Opinion: Give the gift of Blocky this Christmas

Columnist Eric Welsh says it’s time to simplify Christmas shopping and step away from tech.

VIDEO: Feds give update on flying clearance for Santa’s sled

Transport Minister Marc Garneau has this message for the country’s children

Surrey man accused of sex offences against child released on bail, warn Delta police

Gurchetan Singh Samra, 69, must stay away from — and not communicate with — anyone under 16 years old

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Wagon wheels can now be any size: B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

B.C. driver has car impounded for speeding to church

The driver, who said he was late to church, was clocked travelling 150 km/hr in a 100 km/hr zone

Five years since 15-year-old boy stabbed to death in Surrey park

15-year-old Dario Bartoli died early Dec. 13, 2014 after being attacked in park

Most Read