KIJHL tests the expansion market

By Earl Seitz/Peter Houston
November 21, 2017 - 3:55pm Updated: November 21, 2017 - 6:00pm

KAMLOOP — Last weekend the Kamloops Storm played two of their home games in Quesnel.   It was used as a trial for potential expansion of the KIJHL into the North Cariboo.

The city of Quesnel has a number of things working in its favour, including a long hockey history and a new arena.

Crowds of 1110 and 930 showed up for the two games.

Matt Kolle, the assistant general manager of the Storm, has been behind the push for KIJHL expansion to Quesnel.

"This has met and exceeded by expectations", says Kolle, referring to the attendance at the two games last weekend.

Quesnel has been without junior hockey since 2011 when the BCHL Millionaires were sold and moved to Chilliwack.

"it doesn't have to be junior "A", says one fan, "Junior "B" is good and it's a good place for kids to play after they're through with minor hockey."

Another young fan says "It's pretty exciting, having this in our town."

Another thing working in Quesnel's favour is a new arena.   The 1507 West Fraser Centre opened in September.

Several KIJHL executives were on hand for last weekends games in Quesnel.

League vice president Larry Martel says "I'm incredibly impressed with the facilities this town has for hockey --- it's a real gem --- a beautiful rink."

The Kamloops Storm will play four more home games in Quesnel this season, starting with two against the Osoyoos Coyotes December 8 and 9.

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