Return of TRU hockey team ‘very unlikely’ nearly 10 years since it shut down

Little chance of further regulation play for TRU hockey team

It has been nearly ten years since the TRU WolfPack men’s hockey team last took to the ice in March 2014, and a return isn’t on the agenda anytime soon.

When TRU introduced the program in 2009, it provided an opportunity for mainly former junior hockey players to continue competing while studying. The team played in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL), which is the typical destination for B.C.’s hockey players who cannot play professionally following their junior careers.

The team’s final captain, Tyler Jackson, played two seasons for the ‘Pack and echoed the importance of university hockey to provide an outlet for young athletes.

“Once you’re finished playing junior, you’re 20 years old … If you’re not gonna make it somewhere higher up in hockey, it’s a great way to [continue playing] competitive, good hockey while you’re going to school and trying to get your degree,” Jackson said.

Through the five years that the program ran, TRU typically fared well in the league. They held winning regular season records in three seasons and were the top-ranked team during the 2010-11 season with a record of 19-4-1.

In their final 2013-14 season, TRU qualified for the playoffs but were eliminated in March. Four months following their last game, the university announced that the team would be ceasing operations due to financial reasons. Although Curtis Atkinson, TRU’s director of athletics and recreation, wasn’t in the role when this decision was made, he said the financial issue still persists.

“I think it’s very unlikely,” Atkinson said on a potential return of a WolfPack hockey team.

“The reality with hockey at this level is it’s extremely expensive, and it takes up a lot of other resources within our department … the roster size, travel, ice-time, and equipment and such, is just not something we would be entertaining right now,” Atkinson said

Following the program’s closure, efforts were made to revive the team, including a petition and a proposal presented to the athletic department. However, these attempts were unsuccessful. Jackson said that he feels the university is missing out without a hockey team and hopes to see a program revived at some point. 

“It was a great program. They had a great coaching staff there, and I met a lot of really amazing people, so I think it would be fantastic if they brought it back,” Jackson said.

TRU students are eligible to play in the BCIHL with the Logan Lake Miners, who were added to the league in 2022. However, Jackson said that he feels this does not compensate for the hole created nearly a decade ago.

With no return in sight, the now-defunct TRU hockey team will continue to miss 100% of the shots they can’t take.