My name is Roy Henderson, and as part of the group that acquired the BC Hockey League Junior A Franchise for Langley, I would like to share the purpose of our acquisition, its historical significance, and what it means for our community.
More importantly, I’d like to invite all of you to join us in letting the hockey world know about Langley’s new team and the excellence we expect the players, the community, and everyone involved with the Langley Rivermen to experience.
First and foremost, the reason for our acquisition was to provide youth in Langley and the Fraser Valley with the opportunity to play hockey at a highly competitive level.
I was fortunate to be part of the Langley junior A hockey scene many years ago, as the general manager of the Langley Thunder. It was during that period, and through the hard work of the team’s owner, that Langley and Fraser Valley youth were given what I think was one of their first significant chances to play hockey at a highly competitive level. The Thunder team that we put forward had no less than eight local players on it and challenged for championships.
In looking at the hockey scene since, I don’t think Langley and Fraser Valley youth have been given as much of an opportunity to demonstrate their skills as they need to. It is time that everyone realized that Langley is a dominant hockey community and that our players are as good as any other players in North America.
While Langley’s history dates back to the 1800s, Langley’s ice sports largely started in the early 1970s through the work of George Preston, a key individual who promoted the sport of hockey and was instrumental in the creation of what is now called the George Preston Recreation Centre.
Likewise, Jack Loepke, a private operator, was the face behind the Aldergrove Arena.
It is through these two pioneers’ efforts that Langley began its hockey experience with teams that then included the Langley Lords, the Langley Eagles, the Langley Canadians, the Langley Thunder, the Langley Hornets, the Langley Chiefs – and now our new entity.
So why did we choose to call the team the “Langley Rivermen”? There were many options, but we wanted a name that would provide a link to Langley’s roots, its origins, and honour the pioneers of our community.
Langley was born from the river.
First the Kwantlen First Nation arrived in what became Langley, via the river. Then later, the early explorers and traders of the Hudson’s Bay Company and the Northwest Company, the Rivermen, came to British Columbia’s West Coast to trade fur, carry goods, and create partnerships. Navigating across treacherous rivers and wilderness, they were pursued by challenges and rivalries but their determination and daring laid the foundation for the community to come.
It is that heritage, courage, and commitment that the Langley Rivermen Junior A Hockey Team has taken its name and inspiration from. Like the strong and tenacious settlers who established the first roots in this community, the Rivermen are poised to boldly forge their way into a new era.
This is what makes the Rivermen the first hockey team to truly reflect Langley, its history, and heritage. The Rivermen are honouring our past by paying tribute to the people who built this community through their name and uniforms. The team’s colors are blue and beige, representing the water and fields of crops that sustained the early settlers.
The Rivermen are not just giving Fraser Valley residents an exciting hockey team of their own to rally behind; they are creating an opportunity to educate residents about the community’s past and commemorate those who made Langley what it is today.
With that background, I encourage all of you to honour the pioneer spirit that lies within Langley, recognize the calibre of our players, and truly support Langley’s first truly home-grown team.
Help us promote hockey for Langley and Fraser Valley youth, and for our entire community.
co-owner, Langley Rivermen