‘Exciting new chapter’: Victoria Grizzlies announce new owner

'Exciting new chapter': Victoria Grizzlies announce new owner
File photo.

The South Island-based Victoria Grizzlies has scored a new owner, who’s set to take the reins of the junior “A” hockey team that’s been around for three decades.

The team, founded in 1994, announced Tuesday that local businessman Jim Hartshorne has a deal in place to acquire majority ownership of the Victoria Grizzlies Hockey Club, which is part of the BC Hockey League (BCHL). 

The purchase is expected to close on June 1, pending final approval from the BCHL office and board, according to the Grizzlies in a news release.

The team says Hartshorne is no stranger to the Victoria sports scene. He’s the current owner and alternate governor of the Western Lacrosse Association’s Victoria Shamrocks and previously owned the Western Hockey League’s Victoria Cougars.

Current Grizzlies owner Ron Walchuk, meanwhile, will remain a minority owner and also serve as the club’s governor on the BCHL’s board of governors.

Hartshorne says he’s excited to take over the team, which calls The Q Centre Arena in Colwood home. The Victoria Shamrocks also play there.

“Under Ron’s leadership, this club achieved remarkable milestones,” he said, “and I am grateful for the solid foundation he has laid, not only with the team but with the management at the Q Centre, enabling significant upgrades to the facility.”

Walchuk says he’s confident the team’s future is bright.

“And I know Jim’s passion, dedication to excellence and commitment to the community will make him an ideal steward for the legacy and enduring spirit of this incredible team,” he added. “I’m excited to continue to be a part of the team and witness its continued success and growth.”

The Grizzlies are gearing up for the first round of the BCHL playoffs. They’ll take on the Nanaimo Clippers at The Q Centre starting Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m., while tickets for the Shamrocks 75th season are on sale now.

“It will be great to see Grizzlies games full of excited and enthusiastic fans, the same way our Shamrocks games have been for years,” said Hartshorne, adding he looks forward to “working alongside Ron and the dedicated staff, players and fans as we embark on this exciting new chapter together.”

Find Grizzlies schedule and ticket information here.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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