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Huskies, Canucks like idea of NWJHL expansion

Edson and Hinton two possibilities, but Grande Cache and Fort Vermilion could be considered too
Huskies_DeanWhitcomb
Dean Whitcomb made a big impact on the Huskies in his 2.5 years with the team. His leadership, physical intensity, and big-play prowess will be missed.

The NWJHL could be expanding for next season and beyond, and the league's B.C. teams are intrigued by the possibility of facing off against some fresh faces. 

On April 10, the league sent out a Tweet inquiring if any cities were interested in forming a team and joining the Junior B league. 

Fort St. John Huskies coach Todd Alexander is fond of the idea.

"I think it's great. Some of the places would get us closer to the Edmonton market, and we obviously have a good league and run a tight ship so it would be good," Alexander said. 

Alexander said when looking for teams to join the league, it has to be a club the league and its teams are comfortable with and think would be sustainable, and then the club has to want to join as well. 

"It just adds to the league overall, gives us more depth, possibly brings us new recruiting areas, and these teams wouldn't be recruiting players away from our area locally," said Alexander.

Dawson Creek Junior Canucks GM and Coach Colby Wagar said expanding is a thing the league has looked at in the past, and something that's always welcome. 

"I would love to get three or four more teams in the league. The competitiveness is there across right now, but it's hard playing one team eight times a season, but if we could get some other communities back involved that would help take the league to the next level," Wagar said. 

Currently, there are only six teams in the league, down from seven after the Beaverlodge Blades left at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Some of the cities that have been tossed around as locations for new teams are Edson and Hinton, but places like Grande Cache and Fort Vermilion would be considered as well. 

Wagar said he knows of at least one team close to joining. When asked how he would feel about a team from further away joining, Wager had no problem.

"It might cost us a bit more for fuel, but it wouldn't be much of a difference," Wager said, adding the league splitting into two divisions could allow the Canucks to make the longer trips less often than trips to Fort St. John and Grande Prairie.


Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca