Revelstoke Grizzlies plan September restart, seek support

With spectator sports resuming this fall, the Revelstoke Grizzlies need volunteers before the first puck drop of the season

The Grizzlies celebrate early in the third period after a powerplay goal from Ullar Wiatzka. File Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

After over a year away from fans, the Revelstoke Grizzlies are finally welcoming spectators back into the Revelstoke Forum on Sept. 7.

There is a lot of work to do before the puck drops. According to Ryan Parent, the Revelstoke Grizzlies general manager, this is a year of “bouncing back.”

“I hope we’re creating a bit of a buzz around it, but we’re needing volunteers. We’re needing people to help, and in a lot of different areas,” says Parent.

Reaching out for new volunteers

On June 2, the Revelstoke Grizzlies Junior Hockey Society is hosting an open house to help recruit those volunteers, and establish an advisory/operations committee. Additionally, the club will explain policies given by B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada about how the season will operate this year.

Although Parent says a few people have reached out so far, he explains that it takes approximately 30 volunteers to make each game day run smoothly.

“Running a junior team is a large operation. It’s not done with just a couple of people,” explains Parent.

In addition to game day volunteers, host families, also known as billet families, are crucial for each season. This past season has been difficult for the billeting department, according to Parent.

The Revelstoke Grizzlies after winning the 2019/2020 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League championship. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Looking forward to the next season

While they played a few games this last year, the Revelstoke Grizzlies have mostly practiced on their own this season. However, training ceased in February when COVID-19 cases spiked in the province.

Many teams in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) are in the same position, facing shortages in the volunteer and sponsorship departments. However, Parent is confident that the 2020/2021 season will be memorable.

“We think we did the right thing last year and we’re moving forward,” he says. “I think everybody’s really excited about it.”

To get involved with the Revelstoke Grizzlies this season, attend their virtual open house on June 2 at 7:30 p.m. Login information can be found on the team’s official Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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Bailey Gingras-Hamilton is a recent graduate of the Mount Royal University Journalism program, where she developed an interest in current events and social issues. As a chronically curious individual, she enjoys exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures.