by Rick Kupchuk
Special to the Langley Advance
Two years after leaving North Delta, and less than month after they were forced out of the George Preston Recreation Centre, the Junior B hockey franchise that was the Langley Knights is moving to Surrey.
The Surrey Knights of the Pacific Junior Hockey League will play Thursday evenings out of the North Surrey Recreation Centre. It’s the first Junior B hockey team in the city since the Surrey Saints operating in what was then known as the West Coast Junior Hockey League from 1979 to 1986.
“The Knights are very excited to be in Surrey,” said general manager Amar Gill. “The support we received from the City of Surrey has been awesome.”
After several seasons as the North Delta Devils playing out of the Sungod Arena, the team relocated to Langley following the 2013-14 season and rebranded itself as the Knights.
The Knights found themselves without a home early last month when it was announced the Vancouver Giants were moving to the Langley Events Centre (LEC). The LEC’s main hockey tenant, the Langley Rivermen of the BC Junior Hockey League, were moved to the George Preston Arena. The Knights were told to find a new home.
But already, the Surrey Knights have said their new city seems like home. Gill, who has volunteered with Cloverdale Minor Hockey as a coach and manager, says the junior team has “a big supporter” in Surrey Minor Hockey.
“It’s a great fit,” he said. “We have a good relationship with Surrey, and will have with Cloverdale as well. We’ll definitely be part of the community.”
After a successful 23-19-1-1 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss) season in their first year in Langley, the Knights struggled with a 4-38-0-2 record last year.
The Knights went into the offseason expecting to play a third year in Langley, but found themselves without a home in early May.
Gill said the month of uncertainty won’t hurt the team in recruiting and planning for the coming season, saying “we always had a team, we just had to find a venue. And we did.”
– Rick Kupchuk is a reporter with the Surrey North Delta Leaders