In 1912

In 1912

Summerland seeks Hockeyville title

The long history of hockey in Summerland has earned the community a nomination in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition.

  • Feb. 11, 2015 1:00 p.m.

The long history of hockey in Summerland has earned the community a nomination in this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition.

Hockey enthusiast and local historian David Gregory submitted a Summerland nomination for the national competition. Gregory and hockey fan Jason Smith have worked together on this year’s entry.

“The passion for the game of hockey has been closely linked to the founding of the community of Summerland British Columbia. Summerland was founded in 1902,” Gregory said.

“Some of our first pioneers were prominent Montrealers. Two of these Montrealers were players in the first official hockey game in Montreal at the Victoria Skating Rink on March 3, 1875.”

The players, Henry Joseph and Edward Clouston, later became trustees of the Allen Cup and the Stanley Cup.

In Summerland, organized hockey began 1907, when the game was played at the water reservoir.

More recently, Summerland has become known for its hockey schools.

Others also posted to the Hockeyville site, advocating for arena improvements.

“This area is still in the “dark ages.” I’d like to have some people, even wives and girlfriends out to watch the men’s league. But alas, not so many people dare,” said Blair Gillingham.

“A new look and comfortable seating will help attract new events to the arena,” said Jason Austen.

This is the second year Summerland has had a Hockeyville entry. The first was in 2012.

Hockeyville nominations closed on Feb. 8. On March 14, the top 10 communities, five in the east and five in the west, will be announced. On March 21, the public will vote for their chosen hockey community.

The winning community will win $100,000 in arena upgrades and will have the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game.

The second place community will win $100,000 in arena upgrades while the remaining eight will each receive $25,000 in arena upgrades.

Gregory said the roof, the seating and the external appearance of the building all need attention.

The Kraft Hockeyville site is at


Summerland has hosted junior level teams

Summerland has a strong hockey tradition, with an active minor hockey league, a Junior B team and players who have gone on to the National Hockey League.

In 1983, Summerland acquired the Kelowna Buckaroos, a Junior A hockey franchise. The team folded after the 1988 season.

One of the players on the Buckaroos, Jeff Finlay, later went on to play in the National Hockey League.

The next junior hockey action in Summerland came 11 years later, when the Rossland Warriors, a Junior B team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, played here in the 1999 to 2000 season, as the Summerland Warriors.

In the 2001 to 2002 season, a new Junior B hockey franchise, the Summerland Sting, began playing out of the Summerland Arena.

The team was sold to the Okanagan Hockey Academy in 2005 and in 2009 it was relocated to Penticton.

In 2011, Jonathan Bowman applied for and was granted a new hockey franchise, resulting in the creation of the Summerland Steam.

Several from the community have advanced to the National Hockey League.

Larry Hale played defense for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1968 to 1972. In addition, he played for two teams from the former WHL. From 1963 to 1968, he played for the Seattle Totems and from 1972 to 1978, he played for the Houston Aeros.

Ross Fitzpatrick was a forward with the Philadelphia Flyers from 1982 to 1986.

Shane Heyer has been a National Hockey League linesman since 1988.