The Salmon Arm Silverbacks aren’t going anywhere.
The club inked a deal with the Shuswap Recreation Society, securing their home at the Shaw Centre through to the 2020 season.
The deal also covers the club’s new operations with the Salmon Arm Hockey School and the Maximum Edge Hockey shop.
The Silverbacks purchased the hockey school in May from the group that had been operating it for the past 37 years. The school’s annual programs have proceeded as scheduled for 2017.
“Our goal is to rapidly grow the Salmon Arm Elite Hockey School and programs. We have purchased these entities in Salmon Arm so together we can make the Silverbacks viable long term. We would like to thank the Shuswap Recreation Society Board and staff and the City of Salmon Arm for their tireless efforts over the last three years,” said Silverbacks GM Troy Mick.
Operation of the Maximum Edge Hockey Shop, formerly known as Big Al’s House of Hockey, was taken over by the ’Backs in late July and opened for the season on Aug. 7.
In a video released by the team on July 31, Mick said the new revenue streams coming from the hockey school and the shop would be an important part of the program moving forward.
“It’s been a lot of work. It’s been an interesting spring and summer, but pretty soon we’re going to see the fruits of our labours.”
In a press release issued on Aug. 16, the Shuswap Recreation Society, which oversees operation of the Shaw Centre, says the Silverbacks – team, hockey school and hockey shop – are important components of the Shaw Centre’s operations
“It is not only important that we secure an arrangement with the team on the ice, but that we also service the users and the community with hockey related amenities. We also feel that the Silverbacks participation in these operations continues to move them toward an overall successful business. We wish them success in all three opportunities” said Glen Ritchie, president of the Shuswap Recreation Society.
“This shows our belief in the Salmon Arm community at large, and further stamps Salmon Arm as a true hockey city in Canada,” Mick said.
The Silverbacks pre-season training camp got underway at the Shaw Centre on Aug. 21. After some initial practices and inter-squad scrimmages to allow the coaching staff to begin choosing the final roster, the ’Backs will travel to Merritt to face the Centennials in their first exhibition game of the season. The Silverbacks won five of eight games against the Centennials last season.
Heading into the 2017/18 season, the Silverbacks are doubling their efforts to find enough billet families for all their players. Billet families receive monthly remuneration and grocery cards as well as two season tickets to watch the team play.
The first opportunity of the season for Silverbacks fans to watch the team at the Shaw Centre will be on Aug. 26 when they face off against the Vernon Vipers at 7 p.m.