The Chilliwack Chiefs played their 2020-21 BCHL season finale Sunday against Prince George at the Chilliwack Coliseum. The junior A team will open 2021-22 with an American Hockey League team calling Abbotsford home. (Darren Francis photo)

The Chilliwack Chiefs played their 2020-21 BCHL season finale Sunday against Prince George at the Chilliwack Coliseum. The junior A team will open 2021-22 with an American Hockey League team calling Abbotsford home. (Darren Francis photo)

Chilliwack Chiefs viewing Abbotsford AHL arrival as an opportunity

The junior A BCHL club hopes to strike up a friendly relationship with the unnamed Canucks affiliate

If the Chilliwack Chiefs are sweating the arrival of an American Hockey League franchise 20 minutes to the west, you wouldn’t know it talking to Barry Douglas.

The team’s governor and vice president, business operations, calls the arrival of the Vancouver Canucks AHL affiliate an opportunity for collaboration.

“Cross marketing and creative promotions with pro players and junior players could be pretty fun,” he enthused. “As an example, we could have some of Abbotsford’s players at our games and some of our players at theirs and we could have players from both teams out in the community together. We could have ticket packages both ways and on-ice promotions with prizes from both teams. There are lots of different ways we could work together to give hockey fans the chance to see both the junior and professional level.”

That is a notable change from the tone that was set the last time an AHL team set up shop in Abbotsford.

RELATED: AHL approves Canucks’ franchise relocation to Abbotsford

RELATED: Abbotsford graphic designer pitches Flyers rebrand for AHL team

When the Heat, a Calgary Flames affiliate, arrived in 2009 the Western Hockey League’s Chilliwack Bruins sounded a loud alarm. Then owner and president Darryl Porter told anyone who would listen that the Heat would be the demise of the Bruins, and true enough the team was moved to Victoria following the 2010-11 season.

There were other reasons the Bruins didn’t work, but the AHL competitor certainly played a role. Douglas was in the Bruins front office back then and conceded the relationship between the two teams was adversarial.

“It was year three for our team and there was a lot of stress in the Bruins’ world at the time,” he said. “There were some major concerns, but the big difference is that was the Heat and the Calgary Flames organization. There are a lot of staff in our organization, coaches and players too, who are excited to have Canucks prospects in our own back yard. To be able to watch that level and see what our players are striving for is a pretty cool opportunity for all involved.”

To be sure, there may be some erosion in the Chiefs’ season ticket base as fans check out the new product, but Douglas looks at the growing population and thinks there are enough fans and enough corporate support to make both teams happy.

“We’re approaching 100,000 people in the Chilliwack area, if you take into account the communities that are close by,” he observed. “It’ll come down to scheduling and trying to avoid the exact same game times as often as possible. And I do think a big part of our community also takes pride in helping student athletes achieve their goals, and we believe we’ll always have support for that reason.

“Our entire organization really focuses on community involvement, connecting with schools and other organization, and sincerely giving back to our community. We feel we do things for the right reasons and hopefully people recognize that and want to support our team.”


Like us on


Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

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

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read