Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants consider move to Langley

Could the Langley Events Centre be the Giants’ new home?

Steve Ewen

Special to the Langley Advance

The Vancouver Giants are negotiating with both the Langley Events Centre and the Pacific Coliseum on a lease for next season, according to various sources.

There’s no word on a timeline for a decision. WHL teams are well into the scheduling process for 2016-17, however.

Giants officials had been telling people they were returning to the Coliseum for next season several weeks ago, but that’s now uncertain. Members of the team’s front office again visited the LEC earlier this week, according to sources.

The LEC is already home to the BCHL’s Langley Rivermen and the NLL’s Vancouver Stealth, but word is they believe they can make the various schedules mesh.

The WHL and BCHL often recruit the same players, so having two teams in one building would be intriguing.

Giants’ attendance has dwindled the past few seasons at the Coliseum. They drew 7,540 Friday night for a 4-3 loss to the Kelowna Rockets, due in part to their Read To Succeed promotion. That pushed their season average to 5,023, down from last season’s 5,815 and 7,450 in 2010-11.

Giants brass have routinely placed a portion of the blame for that on the Coliseum. It’s had minimal upgrades since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. It’s also difficult to get to by transit and there’s a charge for parking.

The Coliseum lists capacity at 15,713. The Giants usually drape off the upper bowl. Still, there is good energy with crowds of 7,000 or more. It feels barren with 4,000 or fewer.

Vancouver hasn’t won a playoff round since 2009-10, so that’s obviously at play for the drop in crowds as well.

The Giants started Saturday 12 points out of a playoff spot with nine games left in their schedule, putting them in jeopardy of missing the postseason for the third time in four campaigns.

– Steve Ewen is a reporter with the Vancouver Province

 

 

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