All eyes were on Vancouver Giants majority owner Ron Toigo during Tuesday’s press conference at the Langley Events Centre.

Talk with Toigo: Vancouver Giants’ majority owner shares his thoughts about moving to Langley

Ron Toigo spoke about the Western Hockey League team’s relocation to the Langley Events Centre, and what lies ahead.

On Tuesday, May 3, a ‘Giant’ footprint left its mark on Langley’s sports landscape.

During a press conference at the Langley Events Centre, the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants made it official: they’re moving to the LEC from Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum, starting in the 2016/17 season.

This will be the Giants’ second go-round at the LEC, after playing six games in the arena bowl (with a capacity of 5,276) between Jan. 30 and Feb. 14 of 2010, with the Pacific Coliseum being used for the Winter Olympics.

The LEC was home to the junior A Langley Rivermen, who play in the B.C. Hockey League, but with the Giants relocating to Langley, the Rivermen will be moving to the George Preston Recreation Centre, starting next season.

The Vancouver Stealth also call the LEC home, and begin their next National Lacrosse League season in January 2017.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Langley Advance reporter Troy Landreville caught up with Giants majority owner Ron Toigo to chat about the historic move.

LAWhat was the determining factor in the Giants’ decision to relocate to Langley?

RT – “I don’t know if there was one, real, defining factor that made us come to this conclusion. I think we put a lot of time and research into it. When you look at everything collectively, it just made sense.”

LAWere demographics, in terms of more families living in this area, a factor, as well?

RT – “Very much so – absolutely. A lot of our base has always been built on being affordable, family entertainment and there’s an awful lot of young families in that area. That part of Metro Vancouver is where everybody goes to raise their families. Vancouver has just become more difficult to get to on a regular basis and there’s a lot of things going on in the city, where I think we’ll be the No. 1 entertainment [option] in the Valley. All those things played into it. Also, the Langley Events Centre really came to us to make it work. They put together a heck of a proposal. The improvements they’ve done there by adding onto the parking, they’re going to add another exit onto 200th [Street], and they’re going to have a professional company manage the parking. The logistics of getting there [to the LEC] is a lot easier than it was five years ago and literally, you’re within half an hour of probably a million-and-a-half people. Just overall, we were ready for a change, and to have a building that’s full on a regular basis, the ambiance of that, I think is good for the team.”

LAThat leads to the next question: are you confident that the Giants will be able to fill the building, most nights?

RT – “Yes.”

LADo you believe that’s because of a hunger to watch the highest level of junior hockey available?

RT – “Well it is, but it’s also the amount of people who live in the area. It’s an easy access for them to get to. We’ve done professional polling and even when we cut it in half, it still showed a significant number of people would be coming to the games. We just think the support is there to make it work. At the end of the day we also have to be a good hockey team. We haven’t been a good hockey team but we really believe we’re just around the corner. We’ve had some awful high draft picks over the last couple years and that, with the right coach, we think, will turn [us] into a good hockey team and with being [in] a smaller, louder building, we think the energy… our guys will build off of that and it will certainly help with our home ice advantage.”

LAWill key forwards Tyler Benson and Ty Ronning be back with the team next season?

RT – “They’ll definitely be back. Benson is gonna be rested up and be ready to have the year that he expected to have this year. I think he’s got a shot at being if not the best player in the league, certainly one of them. And, well, Ty is just going to get better every year. His training, his work ethic is second to none. At the beginning of the year, it didn’t look like he was going to get drafted and now he’s going to certainly go in the middle rounds.”

LADo you expect to have a coach and GM in place soon?

RT – “By the end of the month is more realistic. We’ve got lots of people we’re talking to and we’re very confident we’re going to have a high quality GM and coach before the season starts.”

LAFinally, do you feel the Giants can co-exist with the Vancouver Stealth and help each other in some aspects?

RT – “By all means. The excitement we’ll bring to the building and some of the improvements that will be going into the building will benefit the Stealth.”

Just Posted

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered Langley girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

WATCH: Farm Country Brewing in Langley City expected to open in summer

Farm Country Brewing is currently under construction and is planned to open in summer 2019.

South Langley centre offers seniors an array of activities

Members decide which courses and activities are offered at the Brookswood Seniors Centre.

LETTER: Langley/Surrey shortchanged on transit for Vancouver

Funding to get SkyTrain to Langley City could come from not undergrounding Vancouver’s extension.

LETTER: Area letter writer puts Trump government shutdown in perspective

A Maple Ridge letter writer is critical of Hillary Clinton’s comments about the shutdown.

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

B.C. dangerous offender in court for violating no-contact order, sends letter to victim

Wayne Belleville was shocked to see a letter addressed to him from his shooter, Ronald Teneycke

Man blames his loud car radio, sirens for crash with B.C. ambulance

Tribunal rejects bid to recoup ICBC costs after crash deemed 100-per-cent his fault

Most Read