Campbell River has an image problem, according to the governor of the Campbell River Storm, who wants to partner with the city to change that perception.
Wes Roed, governor of the Storm Junior B hockey team, and Storm co-owner Kevin Spooner, approached council for the first time in the team’s history at Tuesday night’s council meeting to ask for the city’s help.
“I believe it’s the first time in the history of the team, which is come into its 15th year, that anyone has come here on behalf of the team and made a presentation to council,” Roed said. “What we are proposing to you is a partnership that will not only keep this team in a state of viability but also to promote a great community.”
Roed said the Storm does work to sell Campbell River, but there are challenges when it comes to recruiting players to re-locate here.
“Unfortunately Campbell River has an image problem and it might be a problem that you’re not even aware of,” Roed told council. “Recruiting can be difficult at the best of times and when we’re trying to get some players to come here, at the first reference to Campbell River, their immediate reaction is it’s some hole hidden away, that they want nothing to do with.
“You and I know differently and when they (the players) arrive they soon realize they were misinformed. It’s an image problem that we want to do our best to mitigate.”
Roed said since Kevin and Linda Spooner bought the Storm roughly two-and-a-half years ago, the staff has worked hard to showcase the community.
Those efforts include a portal that’s expected to launch in six weeks and will be attached to the City of Campbell River’s website.
As well, all of the Storm’s games this season will be streamed over the Internet. Roed said through those feeds is an opportunity to promote Campbell River pre-game, in-game and post-game.
But Roed said the Storm want the city to get on board.
“What we’re asking for is a $15,000 commitment from the city to promote our town, our team,” he said. “That slogan, ‘our town, our team’, will be prominent at centre ice, it will be encircling our logo and we would love to have the logo of the City of Campbell River there as well.”
Roed said the team would also like to reward those who contribute to the city by giving away hockey tickets to public safety officers such as the RCMP and firefighters as well as someone who has been caught doing a good deed or someone who would like to go to a game but cannot afford to.
Above all, Roed would like to change the perception of Campbell River.
“As long as Kevin (Spooner’s) been at the helm, we’ve been promoting Campbell River as not only a great place to play, but a great place to live and this is an important aspect when we’re trying to recruit layers,” Roed said. “It’s important to the players themselves but more to their parents, to their families, knowing this is a place where they’ve entrusted their children into our care, that it is a great community.
“We promote this town and we don’t feel that it’s shallow or it’s hollow,” Roed added. “We feel it’s incumbent upon everyone…we have an obligation and responsibility to promote Campbell River.”
Roed said the team is slowly coming around and the community is responding in a positive way.
“They’re talking about the team, there is a renewed excitement and businesses want to be associated once again with the Storm brand, our young people are coming back to the games,” Roed said.
Council has yet to make a decision on the request.