League commissioner to visit on Jan. 30
The Western Provinces Hockey Association (WPHA), it appears, is still gung-ho about setting up a Junior ‘A’ franchise in Slave Lake. Last year’s effort did not bear fruit; they are back at it, and a league official last week issued a release making it sound all but certain for Slave Lake in 2019.
“Head of International Expansion, Derek Prue, is excited to announce that Slave Lake will also be considered for a team….” it said, in part.
In a follow-up email to The Leader, Prue said, “‘conditionally approved’ is perhaps a better term than ‘considered.’”
Prue also said, “there is already an investor in place for the Slave Lake team,” adding there is “still room for some local ownership if there is interest.”
Prue’s release said negotiations on a lease agreement with the Town of Slave Lake are underway. The town confirmed that a conversation is going on, but could provide no details.
Things may pick up steam when WSHL (the parent league to the WPHA) Commissioner Ron White visits Slave Lake on Jan. 30. Prue says White will be making stops at all four of the sites earmarked for new teams. Besides Slave Lake, they are Jasper, Fort Saskatchewan and Vegreville. Edson and Hinton are in the league this year and are “both true success stories,” Prue says. Cold Lake and Meadow Lake round out the WPHA this season.
Prue says a couple of central B.C. towns want in as well, but the league does not want to expand by more than four teams this year. The proposals from Williams Lake and Quesnel are being evaluated for “logistics and other issues.”