Mariners hockey will hit the ice

VIU students and former junior hockey players Jordan Levesque, left, and Ryan Coghlan, get ready for Carrie Chassels, VIU
VIU students and former junior hockey players Jordan Levesque, left, and Ryan Coghlan, get ready for Carrie Chassels, VIU's executive director of student affairs, to drop the puck as Mariners hockey coach Steve Paul, back left, and VIU Hockey Inc. chairman Myles Parsons join in.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Come the fall, VIU can look forward to its first faceoff.

VIU Hockey Inc., a non-profit organization, had its expansion bid approved and the team will begin play in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League for the 2017-18 season.

Myles Parsons, chairman of VIU Hockey Inc., said in a VIU press release he was very excited when he found out the club's bid had been approved.

“I’m just so impressed with how many people came together to make this a reality,” he said.

The BCIHL is currently a five-team circuit; the other clubs include the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, Selkirk College in the Kootenays and Eastern Washington University. They play a 24-game regular season starting in October, with playoffs in March.

Barry Petrachenko, B.C. Hockey chief executive officer, said in the press release that the addition of VIU is exciting for the league.

“Our intercollegiate league provides competitive, high-calibre hockey to this age group, and a second team on Vancouver Island enhances the league schedule and offerings,” he said.

Steve Paul has signed on to be the team’s volunteer coach and general manager, and has already heard about significant interest in the program. VIU hockey is planning a spring camp April 7-9. The Mariners will likely play their home games at the Nanaimo Ice Centre on Third Street, a block away from campus.

“Hockey plays such an important role in the landscape of Canada, so it’s really exciting to add hockey to our sport programs at VIU and to see the incredible community support that got behind the effort to make it happen,” said Stephanie White, VIU’s director of high-performance sport, recreation and physical literacy.

So far, VIU Hockey Inc. has raised more than $40,000 in community donations and through partnership with the VIU Foundation, and continues to look for sponsors and supporters. For more information, please call Parsons at 250-713-9398.

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