Sale would mean end of Chiefs

Potential ownership group would give Langley junior hockey club a new name

Should the sale be approved, the Langley Chiefs will be no more.

“The Chiefs are synonymous with Chilliwack,” said Roy Henderson, who has submitted a bid to purchase the junior A hockey club, along with his brother John.

“To be honest, the Langley fans detested the Chiefs for many years. I remember (when my son played for Chilliwack) I used to have to go into that building and listen to it.”

The Hendersons have submitted a bid to buy the Langley Chiefs from its current ownership group, which is led by Moray Keith, Jim Bond and current coach Harvey Smyl.

They are meeting with the B.C. Hockey League franchise committee on Wednesday (April 13). Following that, the league’s board of governors would vote on the sale. There is no date set yet for the vote.

Should the sale go through, Henderson said they would find a new moniker for the team.

Speculation is that Chilliwack could potentially land another BCHL junior A club, since the Chilliwack Bruins have been sold and are rumored to be heading to Victoria, leaving a void in that hockey market.

“The Chiefs belong in Chilliwack,” Henderson said.

The team was not listed for sale, but the Hendersons initiated the talks.

Roy Henderson is the long-time operator of Global Sports Scouting Services Inc., which runs hockey clinics for peewee, bantam, midget and junior hockey players to showcase their talents for prospective coaches and scouts.

John Henderson is an accountant.

“I think my brother and myself … are looking for a new challenge in life,” Roy Henderson said.

“Global has been a family business and we want to take this to that level,” Henderson said. “We like the idea of helping kids along the way to going to college or going to the next level. It really intrigues us.”

The Langley team would be a family-run business.

Roy Henderson’s two sons would also be involved.

Taylor Henderson has a marketing background from BCIT, while Bobby Henderson — who spent five years playing junior A with Chilliwack, including a stint in his final year as captain — would likely serve as an assistant coach. Bobby Henderson played NCAA hockey with the University of Nebraska-Omaha and is currently involved with Global Sports in a hockey operations capacity. His brother is also involved, but in the administration and marketing side of things.

This would not be the first time Roy Henderson is involved with junior hockey in Langley.

Junior A hockey returned to Langley in 1994 with the Thunder, and Henderson served as the general manager.

Back then, the team played out of the Langley Civic Centre (which is now the George Preston Recreation Centre) and Henderson remembers the buzz around town.

“We used to fill that place on a Friday night, it was really humming,” he said.

The key to succeeding is building local relationships, especially with minor hockey.

“We want to get really involved with the community and with minor hockey,” Henderson said. “With minor hockey it is very simple: if you go out of your way  to help the, they will go out of their way to help you.

“And we are prepared to go out of our way to help them.”

If the sale does proceed, Henderson said the team’s name will be something completely new. In the past, local junior hockey teams have been the Lords, Thunder, Hornets and Chiefs.

“It will be a new identity and it will have something to do with Langley and its demographics,” he said.