As was first rumored this morning, the proposed sale of the Merritt Centennials has fallen through after Brent Stark's group from Whitecourt, Alberta pulled their offer to buy the team.
Obviously a lot of questions have arisen as a result of these developments. I can confirm that Joey Bouchard, who coached Stark's junior B Whitecourt Wolverines for the last two seasons, is committed to coaching junior A hockey in Merritt with the Cents.
In reality, nothing changes for the Centennials as they will continue to be operated as a society. Shawn Mullin has an interview with BCHL commissioner John Grisdale regarding the pulling of the offer on his Trail Smoke Eaters blog.
I had the chance to talk with Cents governor and director of hockey operations Brian Barrett as well.
Brian Barrett on Centennials sale
Click here to download
All audio property of Radio NL (Merritt Broadcasting Ltd.)
At this point, I would say that all this does is buy the Centennials society another year to look for a prospective owner, whether local or otherwise. The bottom line always has been that the members of the society were willing to operate the club for at least this season. It's now up to the community of Merritt, both residents and business people to show their support for the team by way of ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. I guess that hasn't changed either with these developments because a private ownership would expect the same.
I hope to get Joey Bouchard's thoughts on the developments later today.