VANCOUVER - Canadian Hockey, in cooperation with the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association and the Vancouver Canucks, announced today the establishment of the B.C. Centre of Excellence located in General Motors Place in Vancouver.
This is the fourth Canadian Hockey Centre of Excellence with other locations in Calgary, Toronto and Saint John, New Brunswick.
The Centre in British Columbia, which begins operations immediately, is jointly operated and directed by the hockey partners. They include Canadian Hockey, the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association and the Vancouver Canucks.
Corporate support for the newest Centre of Excellence is received from Canadian Hockey's premier sponsors - Air Canada, Imperial Oil Limited and Royal Bank. In addition, McDonald's Restaurants, a sponsor of the Vancouver Canucks, are a promotional partner of the B.C. Centre of Excellence.
"It is a great honor to be involved in this announcement," said Frank Lento, chairman of Canadian Hockey. "The establishment of the B.C. Centre of Excellence marks an important step in the development of hockey in British Columbia.
"Our Centers in Saint John, Toronto and Calgary have shown their worth to the community and hockey family alike many times over. There is not question that we will see the same effect here."
Florence Rempel, president of the BCAHA, acknowledges the importance of the Centre. "British Columbia has always been a region of the country that has focused on the development of the game at all levels, but now, the B.C. Centre of Excellence, will compliment our BCAHA staff and add strength to the resources of the hockey programs offered to our membership," said Ms. Rempel.
"The Vancouver Canucks are proud of our role in the development of hockey in local communities," said Pat Quinn, president and general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. "We are looking forward to seeing the B.C. Centre of Excellence in full operation and to increasing our community involvement and input in the development of hockey."
Canadian Hockey has hired Port Coquitlam native, Brad Pascall, as the Centre's manager. Pascall will report to Bob Nicholson, senior vice-president, hockey operations for Canadian Hockey.
Brad has an extensive background in hockey from playing, instructing, and officiating to working as a volunteer for youth programs.
A player since the age of eight, Brad is a graduate of the BCAHA Best-Ever program; represented B.C. on the international stage at the under-17 age level; played in the BCJHL with the Richmond Sockeyes; received a full scholarship to the University of North Dakota; and was signed by the Buffalo Sabres in 1992 before playing with the American Hockey League's Rochester Americans and South Carolina and Birmingham of the East Coast Hockey League.
Canadian Hockey has established four Centres of Excellence in the past 12 years with NHL and AHL teams and branches as partners.
The Centre of Excellence concept began in 1984, through the involvement and initiative of the Calgary Flames. The Flames, the Saddledome Foundation, and Project Œ75 have injected in excess of $1 million for research and development programming.
The founding Calgary location was followed by the site at the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992 through the joint support of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Maple Leaf Gardens Limited.
Last spring, Canadian Hockey opened its third location in Saint John, New Brunswick, with the assistance of the Saint John Flames, the Calgary Flames and Project Œ75.
The future of Canadian Hockey's Centre of Excellence continues to look even brighter as it looks to expand in Quebec, possibly through a partnership with the Quebec Ice Hockey Federation and the Montreal Canadiens in their new arena, and on the international stage with the International Ice Hockey Federation expressing some interest in purchasing the rights for sites in Europe.