The 100 Mile House Wranglers have won their bid to host the Cyclone Taylor Cup in 2020.
“The wait made the announcement even sweeter. There is always doubt the longer it takes but the news is that much better,” said the organization’s president, Tom Bachynski.
The Junior B hockey franchise officially submitted their bid to host the tournament in November of last year.
“For the Wranglers it seems like a natural progression. We’ve quickly become a leading franchise in the KIJHL (Kootenay International Junior Hockey League) and I’m certain that has helped in our successful application. For the team, there will be an enormous pressure to have a successful season. Pride says you want to win everything so your entry into the Cyclone is validated. The coaching staff will have a very unique experience next season. As an organization, we have to keep everyday hockey operations out of Cyclone conversation. It cannot be a distraction for the team.”
Dale Hladun, who serves as the general manager and head coach of the team said it means tryouts for next season have already started for this season’s roster but he also echoed the sentiment of building a team who will in the tournament out of merit rather than hosting duties.
“We’re looking at the kids. We want to win and go deep this year and that bodes well for the roster next season,” he said. “You don’t want to just have a good team and wait for the tournament. That’s not the way to do it. You want to get there the right way, you want to win the league and you want to win the provincials.”
Bachynski said the community of 100 Mile seems to really be behind it.
The KIJHL gets to host the tournament every three years and all 20 teams in the league can bid for it.
“This is our chance to show our community to the rest of the province. It will be a great economic driver for dollars coming to the community at a rather quiet time of year. From government to the private sector, we all need to get ready and be prepared to help out financially so the event really does showcase the South Cariboo in a positive way,” said Bachynski.
In the coming weeks, the committee will start the process of preparation, according to the president, and will be looking for sponsors, venues and everything else needed for the event.
The cup in question combines the winners of the three Junior B leagues – KIJHL, Pacific Junior Hockey League (PIJHL) and the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) – in British Columbia and a host team to see who is the best team in the province.
The four teams play a single round-robin with the two top teams meeting in the final.
Named after Hockey Hall of Famer Fred “Cyclone” Taylor, an essential part of the Vancouver Millionaires only Stanley Cup in 1915, has been played since 1967.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers have only competed for it once. In 2016, the team qualified after winning the KIJHL Championship and made it to the final, where they played against the Victoria Cougars of the VIJHL and the host of that year’s edition. The Wranglers won 5-4.
The 2018 host was the Richmond Sockeyes of the PJHL, with the KIJHL’s Kimberley Dynamiters and Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL and the Delta Ice Hawks of the PJHL participating as their league’s respective champions. The host team was the winner of 2018.
Campbell River will be hosting the 2019 edition from April 11 to 14.