The gears are in motion to bring a AA senior hockey team back to Lumby.
Jason Boden, who used to own On The Edge (OTE) hockey academy, is the man putting the plan in place to give the village of Lumby a senior team for the first time since the 1980s.
“I’m excited to get this thing started,” he told The Morning Star.
The team will be dubbed the Lumby Lumberjacks, and will be one of three Okanagan-Kootenays-based teams, after the Penticton Silver Bullets and Rossland Warriors, to compete in the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL).
There are an additional seven teams that play up north, the likes of the Williams Lake Stampeders, Terrace River Kings and Quesnel Kangaroos.
Senior AA hockey is for men aged 21 and up, and Boden, who has a child of his own in hockey, recognized the dearth of competitive hockey opportunities once kids aged out of junior play.
“It’s tough for a lot of young men, after graduating from high-level junior hockey, to find playing opportunities,” Boden explained. “I also think its a great networking opportunity, as you will have men from 21-40 years old, and a lot of them can offer wisdom and potential job opportunities outside of hockey.”
The Kangaroos are the team to look up to, as they recently captured the Coy Cup (given to the top AA team in the province), in front of 1,900 fans. Rossland, too, reaches close to 700 spectators each game.
“It’s high-level hockey. You have guys coming from leagues like the KIJHL, ECHL, even WHL,” he said. “Another team in AA will give a lot of these guys somewhere to play. You can also card 30 to 40 players, as a lot of them wont be able to play every game due to work commitments, so its a range of skill level which can be exciting.”
The Lumberjacks will be playing out of the recently refurbished Pat Duke Arena, and hope to start their season up in the fall.
“According to B.C. Hockey, teams need to play at least 16 games in order to be eligible to compete for the Coy Cup trophy,” said Boden, adding that he has already talked with the Kangaroos, and they will be inviting the Lumberjacks to play them next year.
While Boden currently lives in Coldstream, and worked in Vernon, the idea of bringing a team to Lumby was easy.
“I picked Lumby because of their community spirit and volunteers. Small teams like this thrive in rural communities and residents would be proud to have a team.”
The Lumberjacks name was picked due to Lumby being a forest-oriented, hard-working community.
“It was built on the forest industry, and so the name was something that I thought could be easily identifiable for a lot of the citizens.”
“I want the team to outlive me. I think it is going to be a good thing for the community of Lumby, and I hope it can continue for years.”
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