The Nanaimo Buccaneers have made an ownership change.
Carl Ollech, a longtime Nanaimo resident and an owner of Duncan Iron Works, has bought the junior B hockey team.
Clayton Robinson, who owned the Buccaneers for a year and a half after taking over for founding owners Phil and Brenda Levesque, was successful in his bid for a Pacific Junior Hockey League expansion franchise in his hometown of Chilliwack. That put Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League club on the market, and Robinson found that his friend Ollech was interested.
Ollech is in the process of cutting ties with the Kerry Park Islanders organization and is excited about Buccaneers hockey. Fifteen years ago he helped build what became the Bucs’ home arena, the Nanaimo Ice Centre, which is just a five-minute drive from his house.
“I’d rather be closer to home so I can work with the community even closer,” Ollech said.
He wants the Bucs to be a home team with a lot of local Nanaimo kids, and he wants the organization to help them reach their goals and be good citizens. He’d love to build up the fan base, and he’s got a new bear mascot that fans will be invited to help name.
“I want it a lot more family-oriented,” Ollech said. “In past years I watched what Phil and Brenda did and I want to copy a lot of stuff they did because they did a phenomenal job for this community.”
Ollech has coaching certifications, but says he’ll leave the x’s and o’s to his head coach.
“That’s their domain, I don’t micromanage them,” he said. “The only time you’ll see me on the bench is if somebody gets suspended.”
Of course he wants the Bucs to be a championship team but said he’ll count the season as a success if the team makes the post-season and battles.
“This year is a true rebuild year, because [the Buccaneers] lost a lot of their older kids, some went to junior A and it’s tough, but you get that cycle with junior B,” he said.