Column: BCHL loses legend with passing of Duncan Wray

The Vernon Viper owner presided over one of junior A’s most prestigious and successful teams.

Jacob Bestebroer writes a weekly column during hockey season discussing the Chilliwack Chiefs, the BCHL and goings-on around the junior A world.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of long time Vernon Vipers owner Duncan Wray last week.

I first met Duncan at the first ever Royal Bank Cup Championship in Melfort, Saskatchewan in 1996.

Prior to that year it had been called the Centennial Cup and he was there cheering on his Vipers. At first I was just there, but after meeting Duncan I started cheering on the Vipers.

After Vernon stunned the home town fans and defeated the Melfort Mustangs 2-0 in the final, I sought out Duncan to congratulate him. He thanked me and urged me to keep in touch.

Three years later, Chilliwack and Vernon began a five year stretch during which they met in the league finals four times.

Each team won twice.

We kept in touch through those years, even having lunch when we both had the time.

After that, I didn’t see him often but when I did we still made a point of chatting and catching up.

My story is similar to that of many people in and around the BCHL. He will be missed.

The Vipers played a video tribute at their home game over the weekend and I urge you to look for it on their site and on their Youtube page. In it Duncan talks about his philosophies on owning a junior hockey team. They are powerful words.

The Chiefs are in Salmon Arm Friday before taking on the Victoria Grizzlies on home ice Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Grizzlies have taken advantage of a slumping Powell River Kings team and have moved into first place in the Island division. Heading in to the weekend they have 53 points in 50 games, three more than the second place Kings.

One player we won’t see in the Grizzlies lineup is 16 year old defenseman Jacson Alexander. The highly sought after prospect had committed to Denver University but changed his mind and is now with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League.

The player to watch for the Grizzlies is 16 year old forward Alex Newhook.

He leads them in scoring with 53 points in 37 games. He’s only five points back of the league’s leading scorer, Jasper Weatherby of the Wenatchee Wild. I said prior to this season that he would lead this league in scoring next year.

Well he may just do it this year.

Fans can skate with the team after the game on Sunday. Skate rentals are available and please remember that anyone thirteen or younger must wear a helmet.

The Chiefs annual Pasta D’Puck is set for Sunday, Jan. 28. After the Chiefs take on the Prince George Spruce Kings in a Mainland division clash at 2 p.m. at Prospera Centre, they will be heading over to the Best Western to change into their aprons.

There are still a few seats available. Call the Chiefs office or visit the Chiefs website at for more details.

Just Posted

Chilliwack Chiefs lose Kevin Wall to suspension

The team’s leading scorer was tagged with his second major of the season Sunday and sits four games.

Man charged with attempted murder in Chilliwack River Valley deemed mentally unfit

Father says son has schizophrenia; Law professor say too many with mental illness in jail

Four chances to see Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra’s Messiah in the Valley

Chilliwack Symphony Orchestra brings Handels’ Messiah to Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Langley, Aldergrove

United churches come together to share warmth in Chilliwack

Members of Rosedale, Chilliwack and Mt. Shannon united churches donate 100 care packages to homeless

Lots of laughs at Bozzini’s holiday concert in Chilliwack

Double bill performance features rock n’ roll duo Kitty & the Rooster, cabaret musician Shirley Gnome

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Family calls for change after death of B.C. man at St. Paul’s Hospital

Hospital beds for patients with both medical and mental-health issues are ‘very limited’: coroner

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Most Read