Vanderhoof CIHL team on thin ice

A lack of community support could spell out the end for the Omineca Ice senior hockey team says Ice coach Jim Reed.

A lack of community support could spell out the end for the Omineca Ice senior hockey team says Ice coach Jim Reed.

Attendance at home games has been so low in recent years that the team may have to fold at the end of the season.

“There’s got to be some major changes here to keep this operation going in Vanderhoof,” said Reed after a disappointing home weekend at the Vanderhoof arena on November 26 and 27.

“We’re not getting any support here from the crowds,” he said.

He added that the team have been playing much better on the road this year due to packed out crowds seen at all the opposing teams arenas.

“When we go to Quesnel and play in front of 1,000 people, our team just steps it up.

“We come here and we’re barely even getting 100 people – it’s getting so demoralizing playing here,” he said.

Despite operating on one of the lowest financial budgets in the league, the Omineca Ice aren’t having a bad season, and are looking in a good position to make it to the Coy Cup playoffs in the new year.

“The hockey product here has been decent but we can’t go on like this,” said Reed.

He added that a number of other teams in the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) have had to shut down operations in recent years for similar reasons and the Omineca Ice could be next.

“Since we started this team six years ago, Mackenzie have folded, 100 Mile House has folded, Fort St. James has folded, and recently Burns Lake has folded.

“It’s really tough, I don’t know how we’re going to get any support out of the community – I’m out of answers,” he said.

“When we originally started this team six years ago we had a really good club here – maybe we’re just not a hockey town,” he said.

 

The Omineca Ice play at home this weekend against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks at 7:30 p.m.