Some serious remodeling is in the works for the ‘old barn,’ otherwise known as the George Preston Recreation Centre (GPRC).
The Langley Rivermen are moving from the Langley Events Centre to the GPRC in order to make way for the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants, who announced their relocation to Langley from Burnaby’s Pacific Coliseum in early May.
Over the past few months there has been speculation, discussion, and ultimately significant changes for the home of the Rivermen, which will now be the GPRC.
The announcement of the team relocation brought about “much concern” over the state of the GPRC, according to the Rivermen.
Formerly known as the Langley Civic Centre, the GPRC opened Nov. 8, 1973 and was built at a cost of $1,750,000. It was home to different incarnations of junior A hockey teams.
The last junior A squad to play in the GPRC was the Langley Chiefs, who moved to the LEC in 2009.
The Langley Knights junior B franchise occupied the GPRC starting in September 2014, and are now calling North Surrey home.
Moving forward, it was noted that many areas of the GPRC’s existing siding have deteriorated over a number of years, exposing the building envelope to the elements of nature.
Due to this, the Township of Langley has scheduled some significant renovations to be completed prior to the Rivermen home opener.
“The new exterior treatment will reflect the look of a Lodge paying homage to the original pioneers and explorers of Langley,” the Rivermen noted. “The new aesthetic will help make it feel like home for the Rivermen.:
Once fans walk through the doors to the ‘Lodge,’ there will be additional upgrades, including: improvements to help with humidity levels and ice conditions; the addition of loge style seats in the upper mezzanine areas of the arena bowl; arena lighting upgrades, and a new video display system.
“We are thrilled to be moving into ‘The Lodge’ for our upcoming season.,” Rivermen president Roy Henderson said. “We are proud to be the ‘Langley’ Rivermen. Our goal is to put a competitive team out on the ice that the people of Langley can be proud of.”
The BCHL was recently in the spotlight with a historic three first round NHL draft picks.
Tyson Jost (Penticton Vees) went 10th overall to the Colorado Avalanche, Dante Fabbro (Penticton Vees) went 17th to the Nashville Predators and Dennis Cholowski (Chilliwack Chiefs) went 20th to the Detroit Red Wings.
The draft spotlight will help to further elevate the level of play in the BCHL as well as bring more scouts to prospect the league, noted the Rivermen.
Last season, the Rivermen finished third in the BCHL’s Mainland Division with a 31-22-3-2 record, and then fell in five games to Washington State’s Wenatchee Wild in their best-of-seven, opening round playoff series.
The Rivermen begin their season in September 2016 – their inaugural season at George Preston Recreation Centre.
Season tickets start at $99. Email tickets@langleyrivermen to secure tickets and for more about the team.