‘Why not Abbotsford’: Mayor working to see pro hockey return to city

Henry Braun says he has tried continuously to bring a team back to the Abbotsford Centre

Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun says he too is asking why Abbotsford is not home to the Vancouver Canucks minor league affiliate.

The Abbotsford Centre has been without a major tenant since the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League left in 2014 after five seasons plagued with financial struggles.

Braun said he saw chatter on social media this week suggesting the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks move their AHL farm team from Utica, NY to the west coast.

He noted that while some suggested moving the Comets to California, others asked “Why not Abbotsford?”

“I agree with sentiment,” he said. “I don’t know why [not].”

The mayor made the comments during a question and answer period following his Mayor’s Breakfast speech at Tradex on Wednesday. He was asked what he is doing to attract a major tenant to the Abbotsford Centre.

Braun said an Abbotsford team will hit the court at the arena next spring for the inaugural season of the Canadian Elite Basketball League.

But attracting a pro hockey team has been more elusive, he said.

“We’ve done everything,” he said. “I’ve tried to open that door three or four times in last couple of years and they know we have an arena that’s looking for a major tenant and I will go anywhere to have a meeting with anybody that wants to do something at the centre that doesn’t cost the taxpayers of Abbotsford any money.”


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