Junior B hockey is returning to Langley.
The Langley Trappers were announced as the 11th team in the Pacific Junior Hockey League on Thursday (March 30).
“We are thrilled to be back in (there),” said PJHL president Ray Stonehouse. “The league is excited to be back in Langley.”
The Trappers come to Langley one season after the Langley Knights relocated to Surrey.
The move was the result of a domino effect from the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants moving to the Langley Events Centre. That resulted in the BCHL’s junior A Langley Rivermen relocating from the LEC to the Preston Centre and the Knights being unable to secure ice time, prompting a move to the North Surrey Recreation Centre.
The Trappers are co-owned by Burt Henderson and Brad Bakken. Henderson is the team’s general manager and head coach while Bakken is the assistant general manager and associate head coach.
The team will be affiliated with the Rivermen.
And that partnership between the two junior hockey clubs was a big factor in allowing the Trappers to play out of the Preston Centre.
“We liked that they had a relationship with the Rivermen and their idea to recruit locally and giving the players a platform for development,” said Peter Tulumello, the Township’s acting director of recreation, culture and parks.
He added that while there will be some disruption among other sport user-groups, that will be remedied through some shuffling and relocation.
And there could be more expansion in the works, possibly even a 12th team in time for next season, Stonehouse said.
Ultimately, the league would like to be 14 teams with Vancouver, White Rock and Cloverdale as potential expansion targets, he added.
“Lots of (people) want to come in and lots of (people) want to write the cheques, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the ice (time),” he said.
The Trappers will play in the Harold Brittain Conference with the majority of their home games on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m.
Knights general manager Amar Gill said his team is happy at their new home but thrilled junior B is returning to Langley.
“It is a great league for young kids to develop their skills and (Langley) is a great place for hockey,” he said.