Kory Gronnestad and Ken Carson are two of the four friends who bought the rights to operate a junior B hockey team on the West Shore.  The deal is still in the works

Kory Gronnestad and Ken Carson are two of the four friends who bought the rights to operate a junior B hockey team on the West Shore. The deal is still in the works

Junior-B hockey gets a fresh start on the West Shore

As the Westshore Stingers are laid to rest, another junior B hockey team will rise from the ashes next season.

Now that the Westshore Stingers have been laid to rest, a new junior-B hockey team will rise from the ashes next season.

Four West Shore businessmen have banded together to purchase the rights to a franchise in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, effectively replacing the Stingers.

Kory Gronnestad, Ken Carson, Dave Horner and Derrick Hamilton are in the process of buying the franchise rights and plan to keep the junior-B team on the West Shore. Operations for the Stingers have been suspended since early in 2011.

“The team was for sale and we thought it made sense,” said Gronnestad, president of Scansa Construction, based in Langford.

The club will be up and running for the 2012-13 season, but it don’t expect a stinging insect on player jerseys.

“We’ll definitely be changing the name,” Gronnestad said adding they haven’t selected a name yet. “The name could be tied to a business. We will be getting suggestions from the community too.”

The deal has been crafted through the Stingers’ owner and the league, said VIJHL president Greg Batters.

“We are thrilled,” Batters said. “We are just crossing our ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s.”

Starting a team from scratch is never easy, but the new owners will also have to deal the recent history of the team. The Stingers were put on a six-month leave from the league in December 2010 after a player revolt led to an inability to field enough players to take the ice.

The team started as the Sooke Stingers in 2005 and then played three years out of Bear Mountain Arena on the West Shore. During all six years the Stingers struggled to find enough ice time for training, and won very few games. Midway through the 2010-11 season the team had one win in 22 games.

“We didn’t buy the Westshore Stingers, we bought the rights to operate a West Shore junior-B team,” Gronnestad said. “This is a brand new team … a fresh start.”

The owner group is going to start recruiting players now and will be looking into coaches now in their year-long development to get a viable team on the ice. They want to base the team out of the new Westhills arena at City Centre Park.

“We wanted to come out of the gate strong,” Gronnestad said. “We will really start moving forward in the spring.”

Training camp will start in August of next year, like the rest of the league.

The new owners are keen to bring young hockey players to the community, and give minor hockey players the option to continue in junior-B. Even when the Westshore Stingers were operating, many West Shore players were skating on other VIJHL teams such as the Victoria Cougars.

“A lot of the best players in the league come from the West Shore whether they play for the Cougars or Peninsula Panthers,” Batters said. “If you run a good organization, you are going to attract good people and players. Quality at the top will filter down.”

“Kids want to stay and play hockey in front of their family and friends,” Gronnestad said. “We want to keep the local kids here to play.”

The four owners are all friends who live on the West Shore. Carson is the owner of Carson Mechanical, Horner owns Willow Leaf Holdings and Hamilton is co-partner on HHS Drilling and Blasting.

The four men played minor hockey as kids, some with the Juan de Fuca minor hockey association. They have been minor hockey coaches and their children have played or still play for JDF minor hockey.

“This is not something we are trying to make money on,” said Carson, president of the Juan de Fuca minor hockey.

“We are solid in the community. We are all successful and this (project) is community motivated.”

 

Just Posted

HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)
WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems

Victoria police officers used less-lethal weapons to arrest a woman Sunday night after she allegedly attacked a man with a hammer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria police use less-lethal weapons on woman following hammer attack

Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team called to barricade situation

(Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 exposure closes Oak Bay pub, restaurant

Penny Farthing, Vis-a-Vis expected to reopen Wednesday after deep clean

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

Victoria police are looking for Delmer Esau who was last seen in Esquimalt June 1. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
MISSING: Search continues for man last seen in Esquimalt

Delmer Esau, 35, hasn’t been seen since June 1

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Most Read