BCHL’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have new owner

Team will be staying in Port Alberni
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Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ winger Grayson Badger gives goalie Callum Tung a hug after the Bulldogs’ 5-2 win in Game 6 over Surrey Eagles at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Monday, May 14, 2024. (SUSIE QUINN/ Echoofthemountain)

The BC Hockey League’s Alberni Valley Bulldogs have a new owner, but the team will be staying in Port Alberni.

The BCHL board of governors announced on Monday, June 3 that they have unanimously approved Olithan Sports & Entertainment Limited’s majority share purchase of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs from Keycorp Sports & Entertainment.

The sale also includes the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Port Alberni Bombers, which the VIJHL board previously approved at their annual general meeting in April.

As part of the sale process, Olithan Sports & Entertainment Ltd. said in a press release on the team’s website it has finalized a 10-year lease extension with the City of Port Alberni to ensure the Bulldogs and Bombers will continue to call Port Alberni home long-term.

“Council is excited to work with the new owners of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs organization,” said Charles Mealey, acting mayor for the City of Port Alberni. “Since moving to Port Alberni in 2002, the team has been the cornerstone of excitement and entertainment at our multiplex and in the Valley. Bulldogs hockey has fostered a sense of community and pride among our residents, and we look forward to many more years of successful collaboration with this talented and dedicated team of staff, players and local volunteers.

“The City of Port Alberni is proud to be the heart of ‘Hockey Valley.’”

Originally an expansion team in 1998 playing out of Burnaby, the Bulldogs moved to Alberni Valley in 2002 and have been there ever since. The Port Alberni Junior Hockey Society bought the team in 2012, running it under a community ownership model. The Bulldogs were sold to Keycorp Sports & Entertainment Ltd. of Victoria back in 2019.

The change in ownership means that David Michaud has stepped down from his role as Bulldogs president. As Michaud’s run with the Bulldogs comes to a close, Michaud says he is confident that the Bulldogs are in good hands.

“With Joe Martin at the helm, the Bulldogs are poised to continue their run of success on the ice,” he said. “Finding a new group that was able to come in and build on the foundation of the work we had done was really important to me.”

While Olithan Sports & Entertainment replaces Keycorp as the majority owner, all other shareholders remain in place, including long-time local owners Stefanie Weber and Dennis See.