With the construction of the pipeline for the LNG Canada pro- ject on the horizon, Fort St. John and the surrounding Peace Region is set up for an up-turn in both economic activity and an influx of workers and residents coming to the North.
More than just financial gains, this also has a potential im- pact for local sports leagues and organizations.
The Fort St. John Senior Flyers are one such organization that relies in part on talented players who move to Fort St. John for work, including the oil and gas industry.
With the transient nature of this town, the team’s roster is con- stantly in need of additions, and the local industry plays a big part in bringing new players to the area, and this year has been no exception.
Flyers General Manager Lee Hartman is actively engaged in this, and sends letters to schools such as the University of Alberta and University of B.C. and their hockey teams, letting soon-to-be grads know of the opportunities in Fort St. John when it comes to work and hockey.
“When we talk to young guys finishing their junior and college hockey careers, we tell them Fort St. John is a vibrant community. Lots of these guys take business as their schooling, and we want them to know that Fort St. John is a good spot for them,” said Hartman.
Hartman and the Flyers execu- tive are hopeful about the poten- tial for upcoming pipeline projects to attract players who would like to continue playing hockey competitively.
Hartman says he does what he can to find connections and possible job opportunities for prospective players thinking of making the move.
Joey Massingham moved to Fort St. John in 2014 shortly after finishing his playing career at the University of Wisconsin-Superior. His linemate for three years, Kyle Lahey, was from Fort St. John, and suggested Massingham move here to continue playing hockey and start working in the oil and gas in- dustry while he was at it.
“At the time, it was a pretty good option and still is,” said Massing- ham, who’s entering his fifth sea- son with the Flyers.
“Coming out of playing college hockey, thinking the dream was over, and then being able to come here, play some good, fun hockey and start a career has been great.”
Massingham was the recipient of the Flyers’ Mr. Hustle award for the 2017-18 season. He does electrical work for the Surepoint Group, an oilfield services company.
Massingham said both Fort St. John and the Flyers give players transitioning out of the college or junior hockey scenes the perfect chance to start a career.
“It provides a good outlet for players to start working and continue to play hockey, and it’s a great place to gain experience,” said Massingham.
Another player who followed this course was former Flyers play- er Aaron Schepers, who moved to Fort St. John in 2007 and joined the Flyers after playing with the Alber- ni Valley Bulldogs Junior A team of the BCHL.
Schepers was looking for work and got a job with Ace Instruments — the locally owned instrumenta- tion and electrical company — and became a journeyman instrumen- tation technician.
Schepers played for the Flyers for close to 10 years, and was a part of the 2010 Allan Cup-winning team and the squad who won the 2015 Coy Cup, before moving to Kelowna with his family.
“(Schepers) was a solid player, and typical of a number of guys who have come up for work and stayed for a long time,” said Flyers President Paul van Nostrand.
“They enjoy the hockey here and the town and its facilities.”
For those moving to the Peace Region in the coming months, they shouldn’t hesitate to give Hartman and the Flyers a call. It just might be a decision that could impact your life for a long time.
Email Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.