After 80 years of hosting sporting and community events, one more special game is going to be held at the Vernon Civic Arena.
Vipers owner Duncan Wray says they take on the Prince George Spruce Kings in a BCHL game Saturday January 6th at 6 pm.
“It will be the last Junior A game to be played at the Vernon Civic Arena. It’s 80 years to the day since the place opened, and we’re excited about the possibility an the potential for a big crowd and so on,” Wray told Kiss FM
Local products like Ed Johnstone, Brent Gilchrist and Jerred Smithson will be honoured prior the game.
“I remember the first time I walked in that building when I first moved to Vernon, and I looked around and I thought, I’m home,” says Wray, who has owned the Vipers for 26 years.
Tickets will go on sale at 9 am Monday at Kal Tire Place, with about 2-thousand tickets being sold.
“My fondest memory would probably be winning the first BCHL championship in 1996. We played the Langley Thunder, as they were called then, and it was game 5. The place was just jammed and it was electric,” says Wray, a retired oral surgeon.
The Vernon Lakers, under owner and GM Mel Lis, and with Ed Johnstone as coach, won the franchise’s first ever Centennial Cup at the Civic in 1990, upsetting the heavily favoured New Westminster Royals in overtime in a nationally televised game on TSN.
The event will also be a fundraiser for the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society.
The Civic Arena is slated to be demolished sometime in the future, after city council decided it would be too expensive to bring it up to code and retro-fit it for another purpose.
A second arena will open at Kal Tire Place next fall, replacing the Civic as an an ice surface.