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Hockey Nights On The Island


Salmon Kings Booster Club

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At the "elite" level Vancouver Island, from Major Midget to the ECHL has 16 teams.

Representing Nanaimo north in the BC Major Midget League are the North Island Silvertips. Their counterparts are the are the South Island Thunderbirds.

Junior B provides the next level with the 8 team VIJHL (Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League). Starting with the Northern Division, teams include the Campbell River Storm, the Comox Valley Glacier Kings, Parksville's Oceanside Generals and Mill Bay's Kerry Park Islanders. In the Southern Division, four greater Victoria squads play. They are the Peninsula Panthers in North Saanich, the Saanich Braves, Esquimalt based Victoria Cougars, and the West Shore Stingers, who play out of the Bear Mountain Arena.

Two major upcoming events for the VIJHL are the Young Guns and All-Star Game on Jan. 25 in Esquimalt along with the Oceanside Generals hosting the Cyclone Taylor Cup in April where the provincial Jr B championship tournament will take place.

Next up are the four squads that are in the Island Division of the BCHL. Not long ago, this was the toughest division in the league, with the unoffical motto being, "there are no nights off on the Island." Teams in this grouping are the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Cowichan Valley Capitals, Nanaimo Clippers and the Victoria Grizzlies.

In mid-January Nanaimo will once again host the BCHL All-Star Game with a new format, last years champion the Vernon Vipers will meet a BCHL All-Star team.

Not well known is the fact, though a "club" team, UVIC has a team that competes in the BC Intercollegiate League.

Last but by no means certainly the least is Vancouver Islands professional hockey team, the ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings.

These teams have produced there share of players, many of them Island boys, who have gone onto the WHL, Canadian University hockey, US College Hockey and the various levels of pro hockey. Other levels of the ice sport are the age groupings of minor hockey, played from Port Hardy to Oak Bay. There are a number of old-timers teams and women's hockey is growing. Many places have leagues that include former junior players, the most notable being the VHL (Victoria Hockey League).

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