Grizzlies Society president: “I’m not prepared to let them go”

By David F. Rooney

Mavis Cann had barely gotten used to the idea of being president of the Revelstoke Grizzlies Society when she was confronted with a major crisis this week: the possible departure of the team for 100 Mile House.

“I just feel that if we don’t make an effort to keep them here we’ll lose them,” Cann, who is the publisher of the Revelstoke Times Review, said during a brief interview Wednesday — just one day after being elected president at the society’s AGM. “I’m not prepared to let them go.”

She said the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has to decide whether it will permit the Grizzlies’ owners move the team, as it announced it would do in a news release issued on Tuesday. In the statement, ownership group spokesman Mike Roberts blamed declining ticket sales and a lack of corporate sponsorships and other supports for the decision to sell the team to 100 Mile House where they would be re-named The Wranglers.

Anyone who thinks this move comes out of the blue should think again. There has been talk on the Internet for months — at least as far back as November — about the coming of the so-called 100 Mile House Wranglers. They even have an as-yet-uncompleteed web site. (Click here to see the Google search results.)

Cann said the society will mobilize all the support it can find to force the ownership group, which includes Lew Hendrickson and Joe Kozek, to keep the team here.

They actually have a decent shot at that as, according to one news report, there is a claus in the contract that permits the society to buy back the team for one buck.

The Grizzlies were a community-owned team until 2006 when they were purchased from the society six years ago by Ronald Kolman, Joe Dauenhauer and Michael Jodoin for $15,000. Roberts and the other owners bought it in 2009.

Cann said the team apparently has a debt problem but she could not say how deep in the hole it is.

“I’ve heard different things,” she said. “That’s one of the things we need to get sorted out.”

Building support for keeping the team here and organizing a serious sponsorship campaign are two of the tasks facing the society.

And then there is a May 6 conference call involving the KIJHL’s managers.

“We need 51 per cent of them to support us if we want to keep the team here,” Cann said.

The Grizzlies have for years been part of the sports scene in Revelstoke. Here are some of their stats (courtesy of their website) dating back to the 1990s:

Winning Tradition   The Revelstoke Grizzlies Organization has a very proud winning tradition which includes fifteen (15) Division Semi Final appearances, eight (9) Conference Final appearances, four (4) League Final appearances, two (2) KIJHL League Title and two (2) Provincial tournament Semi Final appearances, one (1) Provincial Championship and one (1) Western Canadian Championships. The following is an overview of the Revelstoke Grizzlies team success.

-Western Canadian Championship: 2010
-Provincial Championship: 2010
-Provincial Semi Finals: 2010, 1998
-KIJHL League Championship: 2010, 1998
-League Finals: 2010, 2001, 1999, 1998
-Conference Finals:  2011,2010, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1999, 1998
-Division Semi Finals:  2011,2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1994.