Thursday, June 25, 2009

Merritt Sale Application Being Considered

Just finished a long and informative interview with BCHL Commissioner John Grisdale. I still had ten questions I could have asked but it was already over half an hour. I'll be airing a portion of it tonight on Mountain FM's Overtime where we'll discuss the USHL raid of BCHL rosters this summer. However, at the end of our interview he mentioned the league is currently considering an application to buy the Merritt Centennials. Grisdale told me the sale would move the Cents from being a society into private ownership.

On May 12th Brian over at the Making Cents blog posted about how Brent Stark may be looking to buy the Merritt franchise. Stark owns the Whitecourt Wolverines Junior B team in Alberta. That's the team new Merritt Coach Joey Bouchard worked for before coming to the Cents. While Grisdale didn't say that Stark was the one making the application to buy the Cents it seems pretty obvious.

It sounds like great news for Merritt. It appears Stark and company are ready and willing to invest in making the franchise work there. Grisdale says this is the best condition he's seen the Merritt franchise in since he started working for the BCHL. However, this is also probably their last chance. If they can't make it work in Merritt with private ownership now in place then their new ownership likely wouldn't hesitate to move. Moving from a society to private ownership makes some things easier but it also means the commitment to the community basically depends on one man.

I'll keep my eyes on this one and I'm sure Brian will have all the news as it happens. I'm hoping this is a good development. Just think it was only a few months ago we thought the Cents were done in Merritt. They've come a long way from rumours the team would be headed for Kamloops or worse. Stark, Bouchard and company sure seem to be giving Merritt a second life.

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