It’s the start of an era for Dawson Creek’s junior hockey team. The team has parted with the Junior Canucks nickname, and are now the Dawson Creek Kodiaks.
The team debuted the new name, logo, and colours in an exhibition game, September 12 against the Fort St. John Huskies. Gone is the blue and red, with the new jerseys sporting maroon and yellow. A vicious bear with extraordinary detail is the centerpiece of the logo, with a gold crown upon its head ensuring the logo will pop for all to see.
“The Kodiaks were one of the first Junior A teams in Dawson Creek,” said Kodiaks coach and GM Colby Wagar. “A lot of guys who played for that organization are still in the city now, their families are a part of the community. Our program has advanced so much in the past five years, we have the college on board, a lot of guys graduating, playing here, staying here, and we thought it was a good time to rebrand.”
The Kodiaks team name first came into existence in 1980, when the then Dawson Creek Canucks of the Peace-Cariboo Junior B Hockey League moved up to Junior A and became the Kodiaks, playing in the Peace Cariboo Junior Hockey League. The Kodiaks changed their name to the Capitals for the 1985-86 season.
“It’s a good time to move on to a new name as we’re trying to move forward and get along in this crazy world. But the Kodiaks name also means something to the foundation of this time, a log should mean something. The Junior Canucks have been absolutely fantastic and they’re why our program is where it is now, but we’re excited to move forward,” Wagar said.
As for why the bear has a crown in the logo, Wagar joked that it was because the Kodiaks are the king of bears.
“We tried so many different logos and colours, we worked on it for four months before we actually settled on something,” he said.
In the game against the Huskies, the Kodiaks lost 5-0, and it was a good first test for a very young team. The Kodiaks had 13 players playing their first ever junior hockey game against the Huskies, and Wagar likes what he saw from his team going up against the established Huskies.
“We could have played better of course, but for the guys who played, 13 never playing at the junior level and not playing in two years, I thought it was OK. It’s good to compete and see where you’re at, and we have a lot of things we can work on,” Wagar said.
The Canucks held the Huskies to two goals in the first two periods before Fort St. John blew it open late. Kaden Ekstrom, who struggled last year in the few games the Junior Canucks played, looked much more relaxed and poised on Sunday.
Captain Brandon Rowley is back to lead the team once again, as are assistant captains John Meyer and Tristan Williams.
The Kodiaks will take on the Sexsmith Vipers in an exhibition game in High Level next Friday, September 17, at 8 p.m.
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org