COWICHAN COMMUNITY CENTRE
2867 James Street
Duncan, BC V9L 2X5
ARENA WEBSITE - https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/1867/Arena
YEAR BUILT - 1978
CAPACITY - 2,040 (1,350 seats and 690 for standing room).
Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan, BC is the home of the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). The complex includes an ice rink, pool, theater and a gymnasium.
In 2008, Island Savings Credit Union signed a ten year, one million dollar naming rights deal with the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The arena was known as the Island Savings Centre until the contract expired and the name reverted back to the Cowichan Community Centre in 2019.
Cowichan Community Centre - 1980-81
1980-1981 was a busy time for the Cowichan Community Centre. The Vancouver Canucks held their training camp at the arena in September 1980 and played a preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings.
The Centre also hosted a Western Hockey League regular season game between the New Westminster Bruins and the Victoria Cougars on March 15, 1981. Queens Park Arena, the home rink for the Bruins, was unavailable due to a labour strike and the Bruins were forced to play home games in various arenas in British Columbia.
The 1980-81 season was also the first year of the expansion Cowichan Valley Capitals. That team featured three future NHLplayers – Geoff Courtnall, Dean Evason and Dan Hodgson. Courtnall started the year with Cowichan Valley but was called up by the Victoria Cougars at the end of season and was on the their WHL championship team. Former Canadian Football League player Glenn Kulka was also on the inaugural Capitals team. After finishing the 1982-83 season with the Nanaimo Islanders, he switched to football and played 12 seasons in the Canadian Football League. After his retirement from football, he became a professional wrestler under contract to the WWF and later hosted a sports radio talk show.
Cowichan Valley Capitals
The original Cowichan Valley Capitals began as an expansion team in 1980-81 and played in Duncan until the 1983-84 season. Over the next ten years the franchise would be relocated five times . After four years in Duncan, the Capitals relocated to Sidney in 1984 for two seasons. In 1986-87 the franchise moved to Colwood’s Juan de Fuca Arena and was known as the Juan de Fuca Whalers for two years. For the 1988-89 campaign the team came back to Duncan as the Cowichan Valley Whalers for two years. In 1990-91 they moved to the Esquimalt as Victoria Warriors and played out of the Archie Browning Arena for three years before finally settling back to Duncan permanently in 1993-94. The Capitals have won their division twice but have never appeared in the BCHL Championship.
1980-1984 – Cowichan Valley Capitals
1984-1986 – Sidney Capitals
1986-1988 – Juan De Fuca Whalers
1988-1990 – Cowichan Valley Whalers
1990-1993 – Victoria Warriors
1994 – present – Cowichan Valley Capitals
The Capitals have one jersey retired – number 10 for Matt Ellison. He played three years for the Capitals (1990-2002) and was a fourth round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2002. He appeared in 43 NHL games with Chicago and Philadelphia. In 2018 he played 62 games with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the Kontinental Hockey League.
World’s Largest Hockey Stick
Mounted on the outside arena wall facing the highway is the World's Largest Hockey Stick and Puck. At 205 feet, the stick was declared the Largest Stick by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1986.
The stick was constructed for Expo '86 in Vancouver BC and was located outside the Canada Pavilion. It was modeled after the stick of Vancouver Canucks forward Tony Tanti.
After Expo 86 ended, a society in Duncan was formed and raised funds to move the stick to the Cowichan Valley. It was transported to Vancouver Island using a barge and three flatbed trucks. Two years after Expo 86 ended, the World’s Largest Hockey Stick and Puck was reconstructed and dedicated on May 21, 1988,