The Cochrane Generals junior B hockey club is returning to the SLS Centre after several years of calling the Cochrane Arena home.
Yesterday, Gens president Rick Richards and SLS Centre CEO Erin Wagner made it official after several months of discussions.
"We're thrilled that they're going to call SLS Centre their home," says Wagner. "We want to thank Cochrane Minor Hockey for working with the Gens to sort out the scheduling. We're looking forward to an exciting hockey season here by having the Gens and the Chaos here as our two junior teams."
She believes moving back to the centre offers the players enhanced training and conditioning opportunities plus an enhanced fan experience.
'There's much more in terms of food and beverage and hopefully, we'll draw on some more fans with passersby In the centre," says Wagner.
There's also a fully licensed lounge upstairs where people can view the game. Last season, the Gens introduced their own beer and offered it in a section of the Cochrane Arena stands.
The Gens moved to the Cochrane Arena in the 2018-19 season in search of having their own barn.
"You know, for several years we had an awesome atmosphere there," says Richards. "But in talking it over the last few years with the coaching staff, board, players, and some fans, we felt that maybe at some point it would be time to move, but we didn't know when."
The opportunity became available this year when ice time became available after Airdrie Minor Hockey pulled the U17 AAA Airdrie-Cochrane Avalanche from Cochrane. The elimination of ice time for the AA U16 Havoc followed.
"We thought, you know what?" says Richards. "Now is the opportunity that we need to take hold of. Our players are excited, our coaches are excited, the board's excited, and we'll find out how excited the fans are, but hopefully we get all of them, young and old, right here in Totem One."
The Gens training camp runs Aug. 17-20, earlier than usual in what is believed to be a better time slot. The team's entire coaching and training staff have also agreed to return.
"Stability is huge in our game, and especially in our league," says Richards. "You want as much stability as possible and that helps with the recruitment of players and the ones you want to stay on. They want to be part of something that is growing and is always moving forward."