Back on March 25th of 2010 a patch work quilt of hockey loving volunteers congregated at the “Mezz” at the Art Holding Memorial Arena. From the ashes of the transfer of the Chase Chiefs to Kelowna, the suddenly abandoned “Booster Club” members were pondering what to do with the rest of their life’s. So, with slightly more than $397 in their overflowing account they became the original “Why Not Us” believers in “chasing” another KIJHL Franchise. Sitting around a couple of tables the assembled included Chase Chiefs Jr. Hockey Society Board members Jane Herman, Ken Beck, John Seminoff, Jean Stelter, Jane Torbohm, Sue Inkster, Colleen Patterson and 17 other attendees. Little did we know then that would be the ‘Founding Mothers and Fathers’ of YOUR HEAT. At meetings end a Committee was set up to find out how to pursue a franchise in the KIJHL. The members were Brooke Kynoch, Fred Bott, Bev Iglesias, Gary Lanoue and the writer. What followed was success in being granted a franchise, a mandated year of darkness and 9 years of on ice entertainment. Looking back at the 2019-20 season I was fortunate to interview the Past President. It was amazing how much we had in common as the interview progressed. The interview follows;
SK: The end came quick…your thoughts?
PP: The regular season flew by, so yes, the 1st round dispatch in 5 games stunned us all. The boys were so tightknit on this team they would have played forever. The hockey gods had other ideas. While both teams (WRANGLERS/HEAT) had superb goalies, no question about that, you need a hot tender to go places in the playoffs. The Cariboo Cowboys Jordan Wilde could have stopped bullets if need be. We were armed to the nines and only Niko (Colten Nikiforuk) had any luck.
SK: Anything else to add on that final game?
PP: Oh yeah, the 100 Mile House WRANGLERS won fair and square, and deserve to move on. We pride ourselves on being a class organization and saying anything else wouldn’t be right. In our playoff history we have never gotten past the WRANGLERS, how’s that for impact of the so called hockey gods! It just wasn’t “Our Time”. I’d like to talk about something else other than the last game. Don’t ask about the two referee system in the playoffs either.
SK: Ok… So how are things overall?
PP: As good as ever. For the most part, the same faces, in the same places, performing their magic year after year. Without having to be asked, our Heat volunteers are extraordinary, they pick up where they left off at the end of last season and get right to work, game after game, week after week. It is amazing to be part of it, in my view. It also helps that when someone says they need a break, someone steps up to fill the vacancy. This past year we had three bright lights join us, Darryl Adamson (President), Karen Bassett (Treasurer) and Desiree Fairbrother (Director). New faces with new ideas, energy and drive. Laurel Koch added Secretary to her Office Operations role. Lana Adamson continues as Billet Coordinator, a tough task each and every year. A collection of faces from the past include Sheryl Penttila, Terry Christy, Janice Winfield, Brock Endean, Andrea Stelter. We wouldn’t be who we have become, if not for the late and great Rhonda Kenoras, Norman Stelter and Rob Johnson. Naming names isn’t for the faint of heart…you always miss someone significant. Can we discuss billet homes?
SK: Of course, billet homes?
PP: There are lots of things that a Junior Hockey Club requires to thrive, cash,
comes to mind, coaching, equipment, fans, and volunteers to name a few
necessities. However, the most important commodity is billet homes! If you don’t
have quality billet homes then quite simply there is no team. Lana as mentioned
earlier has the task of finding them, keeping them and dealing with issues if any.
Every year it is a struggle in a Village our size to find enough homes for the
Boys. 23-25 beds, and if not…no team…its that simple.
SK: The team will be missing at least 5 players from this season’s team?
PP: You hit the nail on the head. The loss of the fab five 20 year olds to aging out
of junior hockey will hurt. They are five very fine young men and we were
fortunate to have them all available to us. Watty (Cam Watson) and Hughie (Evan
Hughes) were with us for four years. We watched them grow up from young
rookies and kids to the one-two leadership team as they became men. While they
aged they made me feel younger. Add Niko, Bienscher (Caleb Biensch) and Benny
(Vince Bennedetto) it gave skill, maturity, leadership and more heart. They all
were special and played huge roles in the on and off ice team dynamics. Not to be
forgotten is Ali (Brett Alexander), while his hockey career was cut short due to
injury he must also be included with the aforementioned. Look to see him with an
off ice role with the team in future years. We have a very solid group of players to
move forward with into next season.
SK: Next season is the 10th year on ice, anything special coming?
PP: You can bet your bottom dollar that the organization will do some special
things next year to commemorate this landmark in the history of the franchise.
For all the question marks in the beginning as to what are we doing and how can
we do it…10 years is a celebration! Those original Mothers and Fathers of
Invention are still thumping along to the beat of their own drums. They seem to
have no quit! It will be a season long event. It would be a good idea to pick up a
season ticket this spring while they are a deal.
SK: We are running out of space for Kelsey to fit this on the Sunflower Sports
Page. Any last thoughts?
PP: Yes, Kelsey. We can’t thank her enough for providing all the free space over
the years that allow us to get our message out. We have staunch red hot fans that
like to read about their team. As well we get free advertising for our upcoming
games as we sneak that stuff into the articles. We do advertise on occasion, but
not near enough times. As a result, she donates to and sponsors our team, and maybe doesn’t realize it…we do…thanks Kelsey!