Port Alberni joins Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League

Expansion Port Alberni Bombers cleared for takeoff in 2021

Port Alberni’s BCHL ownership team is bringing a Junior B hockey team to the city for 2021-22. (SCREENSHOT)

Port Alberni’s BCHL ownership team is bringing a Junior B hockey team to the city for 2021-22. (SCREENSHOT)

Junior B hockey is coming back to Port Alberni.

The ownership that owns the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the B.C. Hockey League received approval on Thursday, May 27 to join the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League for the fall of 2021. The Port Alberni Bombers will join the VIJHL’s north division starting in September. There are currently nine teams in the league from Victoria to Campbell River.

“It’s an exciting time for Junior Hockey in Port Alberni,” said David Michaud, who will oversee hockey operations for the Jr. B Bombers.

“Our group is thrilled to add another team to the Port Alberni hockey scene. Since acquiring the Bulldogs in 2019, we’ve wanted to add to the hockey landscape here. I believe with great passion that Port Alberni can be the hub of hockey development in the North Island. Bringing the Bombers to life is the next step in that vision.

“We have some work to do still, there are a few I’s to be dotted, and T’s to be crossed, but we’re thrilled that Jr. B hockey will be played this fall at the Multiplex.”

The Bombers are one of two expansion teams approved for the VIJHL this year. The Lake Cowichan Kraken have also received BC Hockey approval, VIJHL president Simon Morgan confirmed, which will bring the league up to 11 teams. Morgan said “additional interests” are still under discussion for the 2022 season.

The Bombers’ Michaud said he is grateful for the support he’s received from city Parks, Recreation and Heritage director Willa Thorpe, Alberni Valley Minor Hockey Association and Port Alberni city council. The Bombers will play at the Alberni Valley Multiplex next season.

The vision for the Bombers ties back to Michaud’s days with the Major Midget Okanagan Rockets. “I was proud to have helped develop a program that kept younger players at home while giving them a chance to play hockey, develop, and gain exposure. That’s exactly what we plan to do with the Bombers. We envision the Bombers as the logical next step for graduating Alberni Minor Hockey midget age players, as well as a spot for potential Bulldogs players to develop their skill in our program and under our guidance.”

Michaud said the Bombers will work with the AVMHA to find players to sign for their inaugural season, and will move some of their minor hockey Bulldog prospects around too. “We’ll have to hit the ice over the summer and hold some development camps, and start signing some players. It will be a busy summer.”

The last time Port Alberni had a Junior B hockey team was in 2001-02 when the Alberni Bandits played at the Multiplex. The next year the BCHL moved the Bulldogs to Port Alberni from Burnaby and the Bandits folded after five seasons.

Michaud said there is room for both a Jr. B and a Jr. A team in Port Alberni.

“The business model for Jr. B has greatly changed over the last 20 years. It’s really become a feeder league.”

Having player fees means teams are more sustainable, and in Port Alberni they won’t be competing for hockey fans. Michaud said having the same owners for both teams creates efficiencies in the front office. “That makes it really feasible as well.”

The team already had social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under @portbombers and a website is in development as well.

The search for the Bombers’ first head coach and general manager is underway and the club hopes to make a decision by the first week of June. Bulldogs’ coach Joe Martin will oversee hockey operations for both clubs. Michaud said the Bombers will be a development opportunity for coaching staff as well as players.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

PORT ALBERNIVIJHL

Just Posted

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read