Township of Langley, BC, Thursday, June 2, 2011: With the sale of Langley’s BCHL franchise officially complete as of yesterday, the hockey club’s new owners invited members of the community down to the Langley Events Centre for a meet and greet and to announce their new staff and sign some new players.
Headlining this announcement was the hiring of Steve O’Rourke as Head Coach and General Manager. Steve comes to the Rivermen after serving two years with the Calgary Flames organization as an Assistant Coach for the Abbotsford Heat. His primary responsibility while with the Heat was player development, something that should translate very well at the junior level. Prior to joining Abbotsford, Steve spent three years working at the Okanagan Hockey Academy as Head Instructor. While enjoying a seven year career playing professional hockey in Europe, the ECHL and UHL, he earned his MBA in Sport Management after completing his B.A. in Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge.
“We were excited to have the opportunity to bring in a Head Coach and GM with Steve’s background,” co-owner Roy Henderson said there was never any debate after his first meeting with O’Rourke, “he wants to help these players get to the next level and I know he’ll connect with this community.”
Joining O’Rourke on the bench will be Roy Henderson’s eldest son, Bobby. Bobby, who is 29, recently finished his first full season behind the bench with the Mission Ice Breakers of the PIJHL. He has also been heavily involved as a scout in the BCHL and with his family’s business – Global Sports Camps. Bobby played five seasons for Chilliwack in the BCHL, serving one year as captain before moving on to a scholarship at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Bobby will have a familiar face sharing an office with him as Jordan Emmerson, who also coached with Bobby in Mission Ice Breakers, has signed on as an Assistant Coach as well. Jordan spent two years in the BCHL before earning a scholarship to the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He earned two degrees while there, one in Kinesiology and the other in Psychology. Emmerson’s primary role on the coaching staff will be strength and conditioning.
Rounding out the hockey staff will be Goaltender Coach, Pasco Valana. Valana is currently on the development team at ICOACH.com as well as serving as the Chief of Athlete Services for the 2010 Olympic Games here in Vancouver. He has long worked as a professional goalie coach and consultant, co-founding Pro Formance Goalie Schools Inc. In addition to Valana, the team has named local hockey coach, Kirk Starr as Head Scout. Kirk comes to the team after working with the Merritt Centennials last season. He is a Sergeant with the Vancouver Police Department.
Also joining the Rivermen staff is longtime BCHL trainer, Wayne Hubbard. ‘Wayner’ as he is affectionately known has been helping hockey players reach the next level since 1969 where he was as a trainer with the Junior B Kelowna Spartans. In his 41 years in sports, Hubbard has been involved in a variety of sports but the majority of his time has been spent in the BCHL. He has also worked with Hockey Canada at the 2007 World Junior A Challenge and this past summer for the BCHL Select team that travelled to Moscow. Wayne will be aided on the bench by longtime Langley junior hockey fan John Anderson whose dedication to the local team has always been appreciated.
John isn’t the only person staying in Langley. Ross Beebe who will maintain his role as the team’s Education Advisor. Finally, Brandon Astle will be reprising his role as the play by play voice of the team.
The last staff announcement of the afternoon was that of Taylor Henderson, the Rivermen’s Director of Operations. Taylor is Roy’s youngest son and has been involved in Global Sports on the business side in the role of Vice President of Business Operations. Recently graduating from the B.C.I.T. Marketing Management program, Taylor will be focusing on connecting the team to the community.
One way in which the team hopes to engage the community is their new ticket prices. Early Bird Season Tickets have been announced as starting from $139.00 for Students and Seniors. Adults can enjoy all 30 games of BCHL action for $198.00 while a family of four can enjoy an entire BCHL season for $520.00. Early bird pricing ends on July 1. Of more interest is the teams new commitment to Minor Hockey. The Rivermen announced Thursday that all kids in Langley Minor Hockey, Langley Girls Hockey, and Aldergrove Minor Hockey will receive a FREE season ticket when they attend Rivermen games with an adult. Single game ticket prices have also come down from last season with Children under 6 getting in free, students and seniors at $7 and Adults get into the Langley Events Centre for $10.
“Junior A Hockey is about the community and the more importantly, the kids,” Director of Operations Taylor Henderson said in reference to the new ticket model, “we want to create an event for families to come and enjoy. Sure we have a hockey game, but we plan to have much more and it starts with affordability.”
Rivermen staff was not the only order of business this evening as the team announced the signing of several players. The team has signed for the 2011-2012 season the following players:
Michael James Barr, Raymond Bell, Valik Chichkin, Nicholas Gushue, Sebastien Paré, Justin Parizek, Bo Pellah, Jackson Playfair, Brandt Soukup, Derek Sutliffe and Daniel Vlanich.
Please see the attached Player Profiles for more information on each new member of the Langley Rivermen.
With all of this great news, perhaps the most entertaining was the introduction of the team’s new mascot. A Daniel Boone type character was brought out as the new face of the team that will be seen around town donning a Rivermen logo on his chest. The team has not named him yet but will be opening up a community contest to ‘Name the Rivermen Mascot’ through the team’s website in the next few weeks.
For more information on the Langley Rivermen, please contact the team’s office which is located at the Langley Events Centre by calling 604-882-8800.