Portage College Voyageurs Hockey Team Moving to Cold Lake

City partners with college to bring high calibre hockey to Cold Lake.

Last night on May 9th, Portage College was informed that the City of Cold Lake accepted the proposal to become a business partner with the Voyageurs Hockey team in Cold Lake for the next three years.

This announcement came in only a few hours after Lac La Biche County apparently had reconsidered the initial offer to keep the hockey team in Lac La Biche.

Lac La Biche County informed the College of the reversal on May 9th at 5:49pm, which was publicly announced via Lac La Biche County social media at 6:54pm. City of Cold Lake informed the College of the acceptance of the partnership on May 9th at 9:41pm.

Dr. Trent Keough, President & CEO of Portage College says, “We were in formal negotiations with the City of Cold Lake at the time of Lac La Biche County’s reversal, and we had no knowledge of the county’s renewed interest. We will honour the agreement with the City of Cold Lake. It is a business decision, not a political one.”

The initial business proposal to the Lac La Biche County was not accepted and the College had to look elsewhere, or face the possibility in shutting down the team.

More details on the move and adjustments within the college will be announced.

Council accepts Portage proposal for help with hockey team.

Cold Lake City Council voted to authorize the purchase of naming rights and a marketing proposal from Portage College, which aims to transition its men’s collegiate hockey team into the city for the next season.

The City of Cold Lake was approached by Portage in mid-March and began discussions surrounding the possible relocation of its men’s hockey team, known as the Voyageurs, which plays in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).

“The city’s understanding is that financial considerations prompted the college to look for a new home for its hockey team,” Mayor Craig Copeland said. “We’ve built Imperial Oil Place for a very high level of hockey in this community, and we see the benefits of this partnership with Portage College. This will not only benefit sports fans, but enhance the experience for college students in our region.”

The Voyageurs men’s hockey team has nine years of experience in the ACAC and plays a regular season with 18 home games each year. The sponsorship and marketing deal which council accepted includes $300,000 in financial assistance over three years, as well as a commitment to help with the infrastructure that the team would need to make a successful transition.

“The students who play on the team come with a strong history of supporting local organizations and minor hockey through volunteerism, so we see this as a community benefit that will go beyond the economic benefits brought by visiting teams and fans,” Copeland said.

The Voyageurs have 28 full-time student athletes and two full-time athletic positions who will transition and reside in Cold Lake.

“Council understands that it’s expensive to run a sports program and we hope this arrangement will give the Voyageurs hockey team the financial security it needs,” Copeland said. “This is a great investment for the future of sports and Portage College in our community. Together with the recent announcement of the help to plan for the expansion of the college, this is another building block in making Cold Lake the community of choice. We know the Voyageurs will find a warm welcome in Cold Lake.”

Portage’s business proposal speaks to an estimated $850,000 annual economic benefit from having the players and staff live in the community, and through money spent locally by visiting teams and fans.