Rumours of the Western Hockey League’s Vancouver Giants moving to the Langley Events Centre continue to circulate. And a recent visit from Ron Toigo has done little to quell them.
The Vancouver Giants owner was seen at the LEC on March 5 during the Vancouver Stealth National Lacrosse League game.
The LEC was also hosting three provincial high school basketball championships that night, which could have allowed him to see how the facility operates when hosting multiple events.
Toigo was not available for an interview when contacted by the Langley Times.
But he did talk about the relocation rumours when he spoke on the radio on March 4.
“(The LEC) is a beautiful building,” he said on TSN 1040’s Afternoon Show.
“The size is just the thing we are questioning, whether we can make it work at that size with the overhead we run.”
The LEC has capacity for 5,276 spectators.
The Giants do have some history with the LEC, having played six games at the venue in 2010 when the team was displaced during the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.
Vancouver also played a pre-season game here last September, and that game left an impression as more than 1,900 fans came out to watch.
“That kind of opened our eyes; that is pretty good support for an exhibition game,” Toigo said.
By comparison, the Giants had 536 fans for one home pre-season game and 354 for their other at the Pacific Coliseum.
With one home game remaining in the season, Vancouver is averaging 5,050 fans per home game. Last year, that number was 5,815 per game.
Toigo hasn’t ruled anything out and admitted it would be difficult to leave the Coliseum,where the team has played since entering the WHL in 2001, including winning a Memorial Cup as the top Canadian junior hockey team in 2006.
He did say that playing in Surrey — at a proposed 5,000-seat rink to be built by the Scott Road SkyTrain Station — would be the team’s first choice.
The proposal has been shelved by Surrey city council.
“At the end of the day, that would be the best scenario overall,” Toigo said. “(But) that is not in the cards for now.”
“We are still working with the Coliseum to try and see if we can make things work there, but we have a ways to go,” he said.
“We can’t carry on with the way things have been the last few years.”
He acknowledged that a better on-ice product is crucial to the team’s success.
“At the end of the day, people want to see a team win and they want to be entertained and we haven’t done a lot of that lately.”