BCHL Chilliwack Chiefs and Junior Chiefs spring hockey reach long overdue pact

BCHL Chilliwack Chiefs and Junior Chiefs spring hockey reach long overdue pact

The junior A Chiefs will help the Junior Chiefs with ice time and player/coach development.

They’ve shared a name, a logo and a colour scheme for nearly a decade, but the Chilliwack Chiefs and the Chilliwack Junior Chiefs have never had a formal partnership until now.

The two groups finally came together this week with a formal agreement that will see the BCHL Chiefs take a role in the spring hockey program.

Chiefs head coach and general manager Brian Maloney said it’s long overdue.

“You see all these jerseys running around the arena with our logo on it and you find out there’s no affiliation, it seemed a bit ridiculous to me,” he said. “It’s definitely something that we want to be involved with.”

Clarke Wismer helped start the Junior Chiefs program in 2009 after his five year old son, Luke, was asked to play for the Vancouver Selects Spring Hockey Program.

A new dad and a diehard hockey guy, Wismer signed Luke up and they started going to practices.

There were a lot.

The team practiced all the time through April, May, June and right into September.

Luke loved hockey.

“He could barely talk but he could say all the NHL players’ names,” Wismer laughed.

But on a sunny day at the end of April, when it was time to leave for practice, the kid threw a fit.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to go to practice. I want to play with my friends,’ Wismer recalled. “And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right. You should be playing with your friends.’

“Kevin Schroeder had his kid in the same age group, and I said, ‘Kevin, let’s just rent ice and do our own thing.’”

The Junior Chiefs were born.

From one team, the program has grown to eight.

Teams typically practice once or twice a week and play in three or four tournaments.

“As an affordable option for Chilliwack kids to not have to spend thousands of dollars traveling to Winnipeg or Chicago for spring hockey tournaments, the Junior Chiefs was created,” Wismer said.

Ice time has been an issue for the Junior Chiefs, and that’s the big benefit of the new partnership.

They’ve been traveling to Hope and Abbotsford way too much, and now they’ll get priority ice time at Prospera Centre.

“We wanted to make it more accommodating, where parents aren’t driving all over the Lower Mainland to get their kids to a practice,” said Maloney, who has a child in the Junior Chiefs program.

Maloney and assistant coaches Cam Keith and Brad Rihela will lend their expertise to Junior Chiefs practices.

“It’s good for our players too to surround themselves with these young kids,” Maloney noted. “They were young kids themselves not that long ago, and if they can bring these kids into our locker room and have conversations with them, it’s beneficial for everyone.

“If our coaches can help the Junior Chief coaches, that’s good too because some of those people might be coaching in this league (BCHL) some day.

“I think it’s a win/win for everyone.”

So the obvious question.

Why hasn’t this happened until now?

Wismer said there was fear among Junior Chiefs coaches that joining up with the BCHL Chiefs would raise the costs.

They thought the Chiefs would want to profit from from their involvement, but Maloney said that’s not the case.

“There are ways for us to raise revenue through camps and such,” Maloney said. “Going through a program that’s already established doesn’t make sense because we don’t want to go around town forcing parents to pay more.”

In a strange way, this arrangement is about having kids play less hockey, not more.

Both men feel there’s a certain craziness to having seven year old kids playing the game year-round, and the Junior Chiefs exist in part to pump the brakes on that.

“The spring-hockey scene seems to have gotten a little out of hand,” Wismer said. “Our hope is that we can keep kids from being sucked into that crazy ‘playing every day’ mentality, keep them in Chilliwack for a cool experience that still allows them to play soccer or lacrosse or something else they love.”

“Sometimes we’re so obsessed with hockey and trying to get a one-up on the competition down the road,” Maloney added. “But sometimes it’s beneficial to back away from it too, and we’re trying to find that balance with this program.”

See chilliwackjrchiefs.ca for more information.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A total of $7,230.85 was raised for Chilliwack Community Services as a result of The Home Depot Canada Foundation’s Orange Door Project in December 2020. (HomeDepot.ca)
Thousands raised from Orange Door Project to help homeless youth in Chilliwack

Home Depot Canada Foundation hands over more than $7,000 to Chilliwack Community Services

RCMP Emergency Response Team members on Charles Street in Chilliwack on Jan. 15, 2021 after an undisclosed threat was made by a male. The matter was resolved peacefully. (Darcy Loewen photo)
Heavy Chilliwack RCMP presence on Charles Street Friday after ‘disturbing’ phone call

Man who made threats to harm self and others eventually taken into custody unharmed

Two people were in a vehicle that rolled over on Highway No. 1 near Lickman Road. They are now out of the vehicle. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vehicle rolls over on Highway 1 near Lickman Road in Chilliwack

Two people in SUV at time of collision in westbound lanes

Both eastbound lanes are completely west of exit 135 on Highway 1. (Google maps)
UPDATE: Traffic now getting through following car collision on Highway 1 in Chilliwack

Incident happened shortly just west of exit 135 for Agassiz/Harrison Hot Springs

Carin Bondar announced Nov. 26 that she will be running in the upcoming byelection to replace outgoing school trustee Dan Coulter. (Sarah Sovereign Photography)
Chilliwack school board candidate Carin Bondar calls for vote-by-mail option

As the COVID pandemic continues, Bondar fears voter turnout will be low for next month’s byelection

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read