Hockey may return to TRU under a new banner

With hopes of another university team abandoned, hockey’s resurrector turns to TRUSU

The Red Army team is comprised of players displaced by the shutdown of TRU WolfPack Hockey. With nowhere else to play, many joined the newly created Red Army beer league team. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

The Red Army team is comprised of players displaced by the shutdown of TRU WolfPack Hockey. With nowhere else to play, many joined the newly created Red Army beer league team. (Tayla Scott/The Omega)

If hockey returns to TRU in the foreseeable future, it proba­bly won’t be under the WolfPack banner. Victoria’s Trevor Bast has been working to get the team rein­stated since it was scrapped along with the program that ran it in July. After having his most recent plan rejected, he has now turned to TRUSU.

Bast, father of a player recruit­ed in the summer to play for TRU, wrote a financial plan and started a petition in an attempt to get the team back. On Dec. 7 that plan was officially rejected during a confer­ence call between Bast, TRU pres­ident Alan Shaver, vice president Matt Milovick and athletic direc­tor Ken Olynyk.

According to Bast, the univer­sity administration was concerned with player behaviour and academ­ic performance in comparison to the university’s varsity teams. He pointed to an issue last year, where seven of the team’s players failed to meet academic standards in grades and attendance.

Now Bast and former WolfPack player Cam Weir are working to­gether to make hockey a team un­der TRUSU. Weir will be applying for club status before TRUSU’s next meeting on Jan. 13, when the decision will be made whether or not to approve the team as a club.

“Under this format we wouldn’t be able to use the WolfPack name. Simon Fraser University’s team is run out of that exact same format,” Bast said.

If the club is approved, Bast will apply to get the team back into the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League, which Bast said won’t be a challenge. The challenge will come in finding sponsorship.

“If we get 25 players and they pay $1,800 [each], we know we’re halfway or more toward our budget to run a season,” Bast said.

“What we’re looking for is a major donor or sponsor. We want someone that feels that this pro­gram has enough value, that they would come in and drop like $25,000 a season on some sort of sponsorship or donor situation so that every year is not such a ques­tion mark.”

Bast has been speaking to three companies about sponsoring the team but none have committed yet.

Bast said that the team might consider offering its naming rights to companies interested in provid­ing sponsorship.

“We’re exploring way more cre­ative advertising and sponsorship potential,” he said.

While he’s not worried about finding players, there could be an issue in finding a coach, a gener­al manager and a few more people to run the team. Last season, the team’s sponsorship and marketing was operated by the Kamloops Collegiate Hockey Society.

Bast, who keeps in regular con­tact with the society, said none have committed to returning if hockey becomes a club.

“They experienced a lot of hard­ship trying to fight for the team and run it for the five years. Espe­cially towards the end when they were struggling so they don’t really have a desire to repeat that in their own lives,” Bast said.

“Another group of adults has to step up and run the team who are Kamloops-based. If that doesn’t happen, none of this is relevant at all,” Bast said.

Bast hopes to help as much as he can from Victoria with recruiting, but will be stepping back from the program if it does ever get up and running.