Nelson has lost two hockey teams to Trail.
The Kootenay Ice boys and Kootenay Wild girls major midget teams are relocating to Trail ahead of the upcoming season. The Star reported in May that BC Hockey was considering the proposed move, which was confirmed during Tuesday’s recreation commission meeting.
The immediate impact will be felt by the Nelson and District Community Complex as well as the Civic Centre rink. The teams paid the NDCC $20,395.26 for ice time last season. Both teams used the Civic ice for practice, but revenue figures for the 81-year-old rink weren’t provided.
Marty Benson, manager of the NDCC, said he began pre-emptive discussions in June with sports organizations about filling the ice time left by the two teams.
“The overall feedback we received from the user groups is they wanted to fill it up,” said Benson. “It will remain to be seen where we get to with that, but that’s something that we’re working on currently to make sure we can maximize all the available space that we have.”
Even though BC Hockey CEO Barry Petrachenko said they were only considering the relocation, the deal was essentially done in May when Trail-based general managers Terry Jones and Dara Waterstreet were hired to take over the teams.
Neither the Ice nor the Wild draw much attendance and both have been at the bottom in league standings. Petrachenko said at the time performance wasn’t an issue for BC Hockey. Instead, he was concerned about the dearth of quality players coming to play for the teams.