The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League is pleased to announce the acceptance of a sixth member team following approval of an application from Vancouver Island University to join the league. The Mariners will begin play in October when the 2017/18 BCIHL season begins.
“The BCIHL is very excited by the strong support that exists for intercollegiate hockey at Vancouver Island University and in the City of Nanaimo,” says BCIHL President Kim Verigin. “VIU has put together a solid leadership group with significant experience and willingness to be a sustainable contributing member of our league.”
“We’re also thrilled to reap the benefits of having a second team on Vancouver Island. The University of Victoria will now have a natural geographic rival and all our teams stand to benefit from increased flexibility and potential cost savings related to travel. This move also supports our league’s goal of expansion to institutions that are committed to long-term success in intercollegiate hockey.”
VIU’s expansion bid was submitted prior to the BCIHL’s Winter Board Meetings in December. At that point, the bid was reviewed and its acceptance was voted upon unanimously by the league’s existing member teams. Subsequent approval from BC Hockey was the final step in the expansion process.
The Mariners will join Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University and the University of Victoria when the 2017/18 season begins this fall.
“The Mariners are excited to be joining the BCIHL family,” says Mariners Men’s Hockey President & Chief Operating Officer Myles Parsons. “Our goal is to help good student athletes become better student athletes. We will take pride in being cooperative off the ice and competitive on the ice. I’m sure we will have a team that VIU, the BCIHL, BC Hockey and all hockey fans can be proud of.”
“The addition of VIU to the BCIHL marks an exciting time for the league and BC Hockey,” says BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer Barry Petrachenko. “Our intercollegiate league provides competitive, high-caliber hockey to this age group and a second team on Vancouver Island enhances the league schedule and offerings. It is a priority for us to provide opportunities for players beyond their junior and minor hockey careers and expansion such as this is key to the continued growth of this league.”
The groundwork for a Men’s Hockey program at VIU was initiated by Parsons and Steve Paul, who will sere as the team’s Head Coach & General Manager. The team’s membership bid was submitted following extensive discussions with Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Parks & Recreation, BC Hockey and the BCIHL.
“The motivation to bring hockey to VIU came from having discussions and asking questions in the Nanaimo hockey community and seeing that everyone was willing to support us in many ways,” says Parsons. “We have many volunteers ready to contribute their time and expertise, and we’re already answering calls from student athletes wanting to play hockey for the Mariners.”
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was founded in 2006 and is currently in its 11th season of operation.