The Aeros Junior A Hockey Club is pleased to announce its move to Cold Lake, Alberta for the 2021-22 season.
The Aeros are a top team within the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), having finished third overall in their inaugural season and finishing in first place at the end of regular season, prior to the league ceasing operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team President and General Manager, Axel Axmann says, “We are extremely excited about our move to one of the finest hockey towns in Canada. We are also looking forward to playing out of one of the greatest Junior Hockey facilities in the West.”
Details of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Aeros and the City of Cold Lake are being finalized and the relocation has been approved by the WSHL.
Cold Lake Mayor, Craig Copeland and WSHL Commissioner Ron White were instrumental in facilitating the move to the Cold Lake Energy Centre.
The Imperial Oil Place arena within the Energy Centre boasts a NHL-sized ice surface, exclusive NHL-style team dressing room, and an office area. The arena also has seating for 1800 and can be transformed to a maximum of 3000 seats. The Cenovus Energy Wellness Centre is a state-of-the-art fitness centre offering a wide variety of equipment and programs. It is equipped with cutting-edge equipment and will provide the players a great opportunity to be in top condition for the coming season.
The Aeros opted to find a new home following a review by the Town of Edson stating that it would no longer offer exclusive use of its facilities to any particular team and would no longer provide any concessions (dedicated dressing room, office space, advertising, food/beverage sales) beyond booking ice times at established adult rates. In a response to the changes Axmann stated, “Advancing a Junior hockey team, post-pandemic, is and will continue to be a challenge. Without some of the noted concessions, operating the team would make things extremely difficult and as such, the Aeros made the decision not to continue operations in the town of Edson.
The Aeros had the misfortune of becoming embroiled in the ‘Bernie Lynch’ scandal when Fort Frances Lakers Hockey Association in northwestern Ontario issued a press release following an investigation into what they deemed inappropriate emails and texts that their [former] head coach Bernie Lynch sent to one of his players. Previously, Lynch spent two seasons as coach of the Edson Aeros.
Axmann states that his organization considers the safety of team members his primary concern and he took exception with the national news stories that were done. After the Aeros Club investigated a written complaint received on January 29, 2020 addressing multiple concerns with Lynch, he was subjected to a reprimand letter from management. Lynch’s conduct also played into the decision not to renew his contract after the 2019-20 season.
“We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Mayor Copeland, Councillors, City of Cold Lake staff, and the community of Cold Lake in welcoming us to the town. We are looking forward to being part of the community and building a strong and lasting relationship with the residents and business community in the City of Cold Lake and surrounding communities”. The move will bring significant opportunities for both our team and the community and it will begin a new chapter for the Aeros Hockey Club,” Axmann says.
“We would like to thank our supporters for their well-wishes. The Aeros are extremely grateful to Dan, Rose and the team at Repsol Place in Edson for its partnership and working relationship over the previous two seasons. And lastly, we would like to thank our fans in Edson for their support. Your enthusiasm for the team is very much appreciated. ” states Axmann.
With new Head Coach Corey Bricknell signing on with the club, the Aeros look to continue their winning tradition in Cold Lake!
The WSHL is a Tier 2 Junior A Hockey League with teams in Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Utah. The league is governed by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) which is a multi-sport organization that is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It has more than 700,000 members in Canada and the United States.