Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cents Back to Board:

Here's the Merritt Herald's take on the Centennials sale falling through. Thanks to Chris for the props!

By Chris Koehn - Merritt Herald

The Merritt Centennials will be on their own financially this season after Brent Stark, owner of the Whitecourt Wolverines in Alberta, rescinded his bid for ownership last month.

Marc Chayer, the vice president of Stark’s hockey club operations, was contacted for the official word on Friday but deferred his comments to a forthcoming press release.

None was received, however, and Chayer did not return phone calls as of Monday.

Brian Barrett, governor of the Merritt Centennials Hockey Society, reported on Brian Wiebe’s Merritt Centennials blog, Making Cents, that the organization was shocked and disappointed.

“We’ve massaged this deal for the last three months trying to put something together,” Barrett said. “I think there was a lot of excitement in the community with the thought of new ownership coming on board with maybe expanded budgets and what have you.”

Barrett stated that he has not yet received an explanation from neither Stark nor Chayer as to why they decided not to go through with the purchase.

Though the deal has fallen through, Barrett said that the team will move forward and concentrate on ticket sales. Coach Joey Bouchard, who was considered part of a package deal with Stark’s prospective ownership will remain on staff, Barrett stated.

“He [Bouchard] said he was in as much shock as anybody, but he’s committed to being coach and general manager, moving on and putting a winning

hockey team on the ice,” Barrett explained.

Late last month, Bouchard announced the hiring of his assistant coaching staff which includes former Centennial, and Merrittonian, Luke Pierce, as well as Richard Molenaar.

Both have experience on ice with junior hockey teams in the BCHL and at the college level.

Bouchard reported that each will greatly add to the bench.

“Luke was a character hockey player when he played, he was a gritty player, and he was also a leader,” he said. “We’re excited to have him on board and to get him back in his hometown and helping coach our hockey club.

“Richard has a great hockey background, he’s got a great education background and we’re looking forward to having him on board. I’m sure he’ll add a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm to this year’s Centennials team.”

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