Residents of the Cowichan Valley have decided to bow out of the World’s Largest Hockey Stick battle with grace.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District recently wrapped up consultation on the future of the WLHS title, as it faced threats on two fronts: natural decay, and an American city aiming to build an even larger stick.
The CVRD asked citizens if they wanted to spend between $1 to 3 million in order to keep the title by building a replacement stick.
The majority of respondents said it’s not important to maintain the world record, it does not provide significant importance to the region and they do not support replacing the stick.
So now the CVRD will be decommissioning the stick in 2024 and it is currently accepting proposals from community organizations or individuals to take the stick and make use of it.
“We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to have the WLHS as part of the Cowichan Community Centre for so many years,” Tom Duncan, acting chair of the Cowichan Core Recreation Commission said in a news release.
“It’s been a community icon and many will be sad to see it go. However, we are really excited to see what proposals come forward on possible future uses for the WLHS.”
Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce president David van Deventer remembers the day it was installed.
“It was just before I left to go to college,” he laughs. He admits that while restoring the stick doesn’t make fiscal sense for the community, there’s a nostalgic sting. “Am I sad if it goes away? Of course I am,” he says. “It’s been here for most of my life but there reality is there are a lot bigger issues in the Cowichan Valley than restoring an old big stick.”
The hockey stick was originally built as part of Expo 1986. At the end of the event, the Cowichan Community Centre was the winner of a Canada-wide competition to acquire the stick and puck, beating out over 30 communities and private organizations.
It has been mounted in the community centre since May 1988, with the only cost being $150,000 in transportation costs to bring the stick to the community centre, which was fundraised through the World’s Largest Hockey Stick Society.
The stick is made out of Douglas-fir glulam wood over a metal support structure. It is 205 feet (62.48 meters) long and weighs 61,000 pounds (28,118 kg).