Saanich Braves off to hot start in 45th year

It's been 16 years since the Saanich Braves last won the Island’s junior B title but there's plenty to celebrate

Artist Lucas Bell designed the Saanich Braves 45th anniversary logo

It may have been 16 years since the Saanich Braves last won the Island’s junior B title, but there are plenty of championships and players to celebrate this season as the team turns 45.

Current owners Ed Geric and Norm Kelly are leading the 45th anniversary celebration for the Braves, which started playing junior hockey in 1967, with a number of promotions.

One of the moves the Braves did was to hire artist Lucas Bell to design a 45th anniversary logo. Lucas’ brother Chris is a former captain of the team and last winter Lucas designed the Braves’ VIJHL all-star logo.

“We want to embrace the community and are welcoming Braves alumni back. This team has been around for a long time and a lot of great people have come through here,” Kelly said.

The Braves most notable alumnus is Adam Cracknell, who played for the 2010-11 St. Louis Blues and was captain of the Blues’ AHL affiliate Peoria Rivermen last year.

Recent pros and NCAA players who came through the Braves in the last decade are Lee Baldwin of the New York Rangers AHL affiliate Connecticut Whale, and Brian Nugent of the NCAA’s Northern Michigan University. Both suited up for the 2009 RBC Cup hosting Victoria Grizzlies. The Crowder brothers Paul and Tim also wore the Braves crest before hockey took them to the NCAA, ECHL, AHL and Europe. Both played under former Braves coach Dick Crowder, their dad.

“We’ve always got a guy moving up to to junior A or the WHL,” Kelly said. “And we’re off to a great start this season. The stands are full and I don’t know if that’s because we’re winning, but we’ve got a great team right now.”

It can’t hurt that the first 45 fans at last Friday’s game, an 8-0 win over the Kerry Park Islanders, were treated to a coupon for a free Subway sandwich.

It was the Braves third win in three nights, with a 5-2 win over the Westshore Wolves on Wednesday and 5-2 win over the Nanaimo Buccaneers on Thursday.

“Friday was a great showing, the score aside, no matter who we were playing we were responsible and competed really hard,” Braves head coach Brad Cook said.

“This year the maturity is showing for us. Last year we lost eight one-goal games, but we got the core group back who learned how to win those close games and so far we’ve been able to grind them out,” Cook said.

The Braves’ season continues on Friday when members of the Canadian national rugby team, which will suit up for the Americas Rugby Championship in Langford in two weeks, will be on hand to drop the puck, 6:30 p.m. at Pearkes arena versus the Buccaneers.

Braves history

The Braves are steeped in the legacy of the league. From 1978 to 1996, the Braves won six Brent Patterson Memorial trophies as the top team in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. The trophy, however, wasn’t renamed in Patterson’s honour until later. A former Braves player, Patterson was the VIJHL MVP in 1977. He died shortly after leaving a game at the 1977 Cyclone Taylor Cup in Quesnel from heart complications.

sports@vicnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Univeristy of Victoria parking lot hosts drive-in movies

The Breakfast Club, Hook and The Life Aquatic shown on a 40-foot screen

Province buys Paul’s Motor Inn to house Victoria’s homeless population

Inn is the second hotel the province has purchased to support vulnerable community

Bear spotted walking on McKenzie Avenue sidewalk in Saanich

Urban sightings prompt warnings from Saanich Police Department

Telus headquarters to come to Victoria in ‘landmark building’ development

City sells land on coroner of Douglas and Humboldt streets for $8.1 million

National drive-by art show rolls in Victoria on Saturday

Map shows drivers where local artists have set up displays in windows, balconies, driveways

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Bank of Canada keeps key interest rate target on hold at 0.25%

Central bank now expects GDP to decline between 10 and 20 per cent compared with the fourth quarter of 2019

Friendly Cove and Kyuquot will remain closed until further notice

Transition of other B.C. communities will be monitored before a decision to ease restrictions

Racist incident shocks Vancouver Island First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP investigating after video shows truck wheeling through Tseshaht territory

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

B.C. schools see 30% of expected enrolment in schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Most Read