VIU Launches Hockey Club

VIU Student Affairs Executive Director Dr. Carrie Chassels gets ready to drop the puck as VIU students Jordan Levesque and Ryan Coghlan square off. Mariners hockey coach Steven Paul (back left) and VIU Hockey Inc. Chairperson Myles Parsons join in the fun.

January 23, 2017 - 3:15pm

New VIU club, made possible with support of community partners, will join the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League 

Mariners hockey is officially coming to Vancouver Island University (VIU) thanks to the hard work of VIU Hockey Inc., a non-profit organization established in 2015 by a group of hockey enthusiasts with the sole intention of launching a university club in Nanaimo.

Because of their efforts, the support of VIU staff and a wide range of community partners their bid to join the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) was approved in December. The VIU club will join five other Pacific Northwest collegiate teams, including the University of Victoria Vikes.

VIU’s Director of High Performance Sport, Recreation and Physical Literacy, Stephanie White, says the new club has generated a lot of excitement both on campus and throughout the region.

“Hockey plays such an important role in the landscape of Canada so it’s really exciting to add hockey to our sport programs at VIU and to see the incredible community support that got behind the effort to make it happen,” said White. “It’s always important that we can continue, where possible, to grow our programming to create more opportunities for our student athletes. Supporting efforts like this is one way we can do that.”

VIU Hockey Inc. Chairperson and Chief Operating Officer, Myles Parsons, was very excited when he heard the club had been approved.

“I’m just so impressed with how many people came together to make this a reality,” said Parsons. “The incredible community partners that stepped up to support the process, from Nanaimo Parks and Recreation who dedicated ice time, to Nanaimo City Council and the incredibly talented fundraisers and staff from VIU – everyone was essential to moving this process forward.”

The BCIHL falls under the umbrella of BC Hockey, the organization that oversees all amateur hockey in BC and the Yukon. They supported the idea of a VIU hockey team joining the BCIHL from the outset.

“The addition of VIU to the BCIHL is an exciting time for the league and BC Hockey,” said BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Barry Petrachenko. “Our intercollegiate league provides competitive, high-calibre hockey to this age group, and a second team on Vancouver Island enhances the league schedule and offerings. It is a priority for us to provide opportunities for players beyond their junior and minor hockey careers and expansion such as this is key to the continued growth of this programming.”

Ryan Coghlan has played in the Western Hockey League and for the Nanaimo Clippers. As a VIU student he is looking forward to VIU having a hockey team.

“For myself and I’m sure a lot of other students, the only thing missing at VIU was a hockey team,” said Coghlan. “I think that the hockey team will attract a wide variety of fans not just from the University but from within the city as well. It will be interesting to see how many fans show up for the first game next fall!”

Steven Paul is a former junior hockey player who has been coaching for decades at every level of sport. He came onboard as the team’s volunteer coach and general manager. Only VIU students are eligible to play for the team and just on word of mouth alone, VIU Hockey Inc. has already received 42 applications to join, with more coming in every day.

“Everyone who is interested has a strong hockey background. They are excited to represent their school and community as team members,” said Paul, who adds there are many former professional hockey players competing in the league. “The players we have will be there to have fun and will be well aware of the support that the community has invested to create this opportunity for them. Because of that, as a team, we will always be looking for ways to give back.”

All hopeful Mariners will be taking part in a hockey camp scheduled April 7 to 9. Paul expects to build the team around 30 players chosen from that process.

So far more than $40,000 has been raised for the team by community donors in partnership with the VIU Foundation. As a club they must raise their own funds to operate and community partners are always welcome. To get involved and to learn more, please contact Myles Parsons at 250 713-9398.  



Dane Gibson, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6288 | C: 250.618.7296 | E: |  T: @viunews

Tags: Athletics