BC Hockey: Relocating Ice, Wild difficult decision

Barry Petrachenko spoke to the Star following news two major midget teams would leave Nelson for Trail this season.

The Kootenay Ice

The head of BC Hockey says the decision to relocate two major midget teams from Nelson to Trail wasn’t easily made.

Barry Petrachenko, the CEO of the provincial hockey body, said Wednesday he didn’t expect to hear so much local opposition prior to the move of the Kootenay Ice boys and Kootenay Wild girls teams, which was confirmed earlier this month.

“I was surprised by the reaction and somewhat to this day sad that we had anything to do with a decision to move a team out of Nelson because that’s not the business we’re in,” said Petrachenko. “We’re in the business of building hockey programming and the fact that Nelson has such a passion for it, I love that.

“And yet at the same time it makes my job a little more difficult because we have to make a very important but difficult decision here and it did not go Nelson’s way. That’s never an easy situation to be in and one if I had my choice I would not have wanted to be in a position to make that against Nelson.”

The Star reported in May that BC Hockey was considering a proposal to move the struggling teams. Petrachenko attended an ice camp shortly after in Nelson, but said it was too early at the time to assess the quality of players trying out for the team.

What he did see was that the personnel and facilities in Nelson weren’t at fault for the floundering programs.

“It was not a good feeling going into Nelson and seeing the energy and the feeling that people had about the teams and things that had been done and knowing it wasn’t working to a level that was going to draw more players,” he said, while adding BC Hockey heard no proposals compelling enough to keep the teams in Nelson.

Petrachenko said the possibility of folding the Ice and Wild was still on the table until late July. But enough players signed up to warrant trying out the move to Trail for the upcoming season, which incorporates an academy structure into the organizations now run by Terry Jones and Dara Waterstreet, respectively.

Players aren’t paying more or less than they were in Nelson to play in Trail. Fees are the same across both leagues, with boys paying $7,087.30 for the season while the girls pay $6,521.05.

The move has not been an early success. Petrachenko said BC Hockey hasn’t seen a bump in available talent despite changing player movement rules in the off-season. Previously, if a player didn’t make their regional major midget team they couldn’t try out elsewhere in the province for other teams in the same league.

That’s been changed, and Petrachenko hopes it eventually boosts the quality of players coming to the Ice and Wild. Without the rule change, he said, the Kootenays likely wouldn’t have had teams this year.

He added BC Hockey doesn’t want to see a scenario in which the survival of the Ice and Wild relies on players coming to play from outside the Kootenays. He’s hoping the new program has time to draw in more local players.

“I can say that even with the move to Trail we haven’t seen a spike in [talent], and that’s concerning to us,” said Petrachenko. “However, we’re giving it a shot here and doing our best. We want these teams to survive. We want these teams to actually thrive.”

Just Posted

Nelson Reflections win at synchro provincials

Nelson’s synchronized swimming team triumphed at the Jean Peters Provincial Championship

Here we go again: Mamma Mia! set to open at the Capitol Theatre

The ABBA-inspired musical runs Thursday to Sunday

LETTERS: The other side of the Women’s Centre story

From readers Vita Luthmers and Hannah Hadikin

Nelson holds the line on property taxes

No increase this year thanks to deal with RDCK on park funding

West Kootenay opinion sought on health care issues

Rural Evidence Review getting strong response to survey call-out

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, B.C. lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Most Read