Kings Have New Castle
The Grande Prairie JDA Kings will now be known as the County of Grande Prairie JDA Kings and are moving to the County’s Sportsplex in Clairmont from the Coca-Cola Centre in Grande Prairie.
“It is one of those win-win situations,” said Randy Kleist, part of the management group for the North West Junior Hockey League team. “It is great for the Kings and it gives the Sportsplex another anchor tenant in their new building.”
The Kings will play out of the Pat’s Auto Supply Arena in the twin-rink facility, which was opened earlier this year.
“The move to the Sportsplex gives us a little more flexibility with practices and games, but most importantly it gives us a facility we can have some ownership in,” said Kleist. “The County has gone out of its way to accommodate us. We are very much looking forward to this partnership.”
A new dressing room is being created for the team and the club will be able to make revenue from signage they will be allowed to sell in the arena. The County is working on obtaining a licence to allow beer sales in the stands during games and there is a lounge at the south end of the rink that will be open during Kings games.
The Pat’s Auto Supply Arena has seating for about 375 people. Portable bleachers can expand those numbers higher.
The extra seating may be needed because the Kings are hosting the Alberta Junior B Hockey Championships in April at the Sportsplex.
“The provincials will be the biggest hockey event in the Peace Country in 2014,” said Kleist. “It is going to be a great way to expose this beautiful Sportsplex to a lot of people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to see it.”
The Sportsplex also includes the Chris McMillan Arena as well as an indoor soccer facility and several outside fields.
The County is looking forward to the new relationship.
“We are very happy to be the home for the JDA County Kings and look forward to having a long relationship with them,” said County Reeve Leanne Beaupre. “We wish them all the success in their league and in all their future endeavors.”
Megan Schur, Manager of Parks and Recreation for the County, feels the Kings will create a new buzz in the Clairmont area.
“I believe that having the County Kings at the County Sportsplex will bring a vibrant and exciting energy into the facility,” said Schur. “Their presence will increase the appeal of the facility, and will encourage our residents and visitors to engage in activities that improve the social and physical well-being of our communities.
“Socially, this will give our residents an opportunity to take the family out to enjoy an exciting hockey game. We also anticipate that the team will participate in events where kids can get out and ‘skate with the Kings’ and other community events, thus perhaps inspiring the next generation of athletes and community builders.”
The Sportsplex is managed by Nustadia Recreation and Ramona Rollins is the facility general manager. The Kings have signed a five-year agreement with Nustadia.
“The County Sportsplex is the perfect venue for a Junior B team, and the JDA Kings are a great fit,” said Rollins. “A junior team brings a lot of energy and vitality and the games are great for enjoyable family outings.
“Bringing the team in means that the businesses located in the Sportsplex will all benefit, and we are looking forward to partnering for hockey and multi-sport camps.”
The Kings, the defending NWJHL champions, are leading the NWJHL again this year. They will kick off their move to the Sportsplex with a free Skate With The Kings on January 2. First home game in the new digs will be on January 4 when they host the Slave Lake Wolves. The team has two more games at the Coke Can – Dec. 10 and Dec. 20.
The organization has been part of the NWJHL since its inception and played in the Coke Can since it opened in 2003.
North Peace Navigators vs JDA County Kings
JDA County Kings vs Fort St. John Huskies
JDA County Kings vs Fairview Flyers