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