The Vancouver Golden Panthers hockey program will not be training out of Abbotsford’s The Rinks at Summit Centre.
The group had announced last month that they had booked the local rink for one hour per day, three times a week starting on Sept. 13 and running until March.
However, the group failed to make any payments for the bookings and the contract was cancelled.
“Our policy is not to allow ice usage until ice is paid for in advance by new users,” stated Deborah Stark, the ice allocator for The Rinks at Summit Centre. “Our request for payment was ignored and we cancelled the contract before the first ice time was to take place and the group was notified of the cancelled contract”
Stark said she never had any dealings with Golden Panthers management in person, only through email. She added that the group did not show up to the rink on Sept. 13 expecting to use the ice.
The Golden Panthers had shared on Facebook last month that they were looking for billet families in the Abbotsford area but its unclear if any arrangements were made.
Following the posting of the original story, The News was contacted by several parents whose children had negative experiences with the program. Stark said her team had also received calls from American parents warning them about the Golden Panthers.
The program was based in Langley last year and it is unclear why they left Langley for Abbotsford. The Golden Panthers are run by Spencer McHaffie and his twin brother Scott McHaffie. The News reached out to Spencer, who is listed as the head coach of the program, for more details but he has not yet replied.
According to the Vancouver Golden Panthers Facebook page, the team is set to compete in its first Premier Hockey League showcase of the season in Merritt on Sept. 25. It’s unclear how players have been training for this first event. It’s also unclear who will be on the roster.
The Premier Hockey League is a 24-team private league with teams in B.C., Alberta and Montana. They operate outside of the Hockey Canada system and have showcase tournaments at locations in the United States and Canada on weekend.
Earlier this summer the PHL announced that it has a working agreement with the Canadian-American Junior Hockey League, which operates out of Alberta. According to the PHL website, other BC programs include the North Legacy Warriors, the BC Beasts, the Vancouver Sharks and the New Westminster Bruins.
The Golden Panthers have since changed websites since the last story The News posted and it can now be found at goldenpantherselitehockey.com.