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Morneau on board?
Chilliwack Bruins co-owner Moray Keith has confirmed Justin Morneau's interest in getting involved in the Chilliwack hockey scene.
"Justin has expressed his interest in being involved with us as an investor in hockey based in Chilliwack," Keith said in an e-mail to the Chilliwack Progress. "We would be honoured to have him involved. It is all predicated obviously in our successfully securing the team.”
The notion makes sense on a lot of levels.
The Minnesota Twins slugger has ties to the area, having recently helped his dad, George Morneau, relocate to Chilliwack. George is involved in Valley Sports Zone, a multi-sport training facility that opened its doors recently.
Morneau, the 2006 American League MVP (and a runner-up in 2008) certainly has the financial means to be a major player in any bid, having inked a six year contract worth $80 million with the Twins three years ago. Keith and fellow Bruins co-owner Jim Bond seemed confident last week that they could match or exceed any bids for the Bruins. With Morneau on board, that seems more accurate than ever.
The pieces are starting to fall into place, as long as Keith's co-owners (Brian Burke, Glen Sather and Darryl Porter) and the Western Hockey League governors are willing to accept a new ownership group that keeps the team in Chilliwack.
A news article this morning said there is pressure on Burke, Sather and Porter to accept a bid that would land the team in Victoria. That would fly in the face of commments WHL commisioner Ron Robison made in a Chilliwack Progress interview last week.
“The league's position on ownership is always to look for local ownership,” he said. “That is always a priority. We have to make sure we have the right type of ownership, but if there is local interest, that is something we would want to explore.”
With Keith and Bond already in the ownership group and Morneau tied to Chilliwack, this would seem to meet the criteria.