Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wenatchee Wild Awaiting Approval From BC Hockey & Hockey Canada:

This was posted on Brian Wiebe's BCHL Blog:

Wenatchee Awaiting Approval from BC Hockey & Hockey Canada

Thursday, April 30, 2015
The Wenatchee Wild's admission to the BCHL is awaiting approval from Hockey Canada and BC Hockey. In an article by Mario Annicchiarico in today's Victoria Times-Colonist, BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale indicates that the league's governors approved the admission of Wenatchee unanimously, and approvals have also come from USA Hockey and the North American Hockey League.

An official announcement won't come until later in June, after BC Hockey's annual meeting. The article also mentions that Wenatchee is considered a BCHL expansion team and isn't taking over an existing franchise, which means the Williams Lake TimberWolves remain suspended by the league and dormant as a franchise "not in good standing". I'd expect that the current 16 BCHL franchises will benefit greatly from an expansion fee provided by the Wild. Under various ownership groups, Wenatchee has been trying to join the BCHL on and off since 2006.

This was in the Victoria Times Colonist Newspaper:

Wenatchee’s play for BCHL spot gains traction

Mario Annicchiarico / Times Colonist

April 30, 2015

The Wenatchee Wild’s bid to join the B.C. Hockey League seems to have finally gained ground.

An official announcement that the North American Hockey League club from Wenatchee, Washington, will become the BCHL’s 17th team is expected once financial information is in order and final approval has been given.

League commissioner John Grisdale confirmed on Tuesday that — barring any last-minute setbacks — the league would write Wenatchee into the BCHL Showcase schedule, which kicks off the 2015-16 campaign.

“What I can tell you is the BCHL board of governors has approved it unanimously. USA Hockey has given conditional approval, as has the North American Hockey League, which has to give approval under the U.S. rules,” said Grisdale, adding the bid is still awaiting approval from B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada.

The application has been filed with B.C. Hockey, which is holding its annual meeting June 12-14. Hockey Canada’s annual meeting is set for the Victoria Day long weekend.

Grisdale said it was important to begin scheduling with Wenatchee in mind.

“We have to keep pushing forward because we’re running out of time.”

He wouldn’t stipulate how the schedule or divisions would be worked out, however. Island teams would likely play the Wild once away and once at home.

Wenatchee would be the only U.S. team in the BCHL, although Bellingham was in the league from 1972-1975.

When the BCHL went through the process in 2013, the bid was approved by B.C. Hockey, but failed to win Hockey Canada’s approval because of lease problems in Wenatchee that have since been resolved. The Wild has attempted to join the BCHL the last three seasons.

John Wilson, one of the owners of the Victoria Grizzlies and the team’s alternate governor, said the move is a good sign for the league. “The league has been under attack lately for being in a bad financial situation. Having a new team in the league and owners committed to coming in shows that the BCHL is still alive and well and thriving.”

The Wild would be an additional team, not a replacement one.

The team — which plays in the Town Toyota Center, a 4,300-seat multi-purpose arena in Wenatchee, in north-central Washington — will be an expansion club, with fees yet to be determined by the BCHL.

Scheduling should be completed at the BCHL annual meeting in June, which this year will be held in Victoria.

“It’s good news and maybe this opens the door to future expansion to the United States,” said Wilson, who confirmed the Grizzlies’ board of directors is also in negotiations to renew its contract at The Q Centre.

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