GR PEARKES RECREATION CENTRE
3100 Tillicum Road
Victoria BC, V9A 6T2
YEAR BUILT - 1968
George R Pearkes Recreation Centre features two ice surfaces, a weight room, a dance studio, space for trade shows and a public library. The arena has the most comfortable fan seating on Vancouver Island with seats that were originally used in an IMAX theatre. The Green Rink serves as the home for the Saanich Predators of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL).
The arena is named after Major General George R. Pearkes, a Canadian politician and soldier. He was a recipient of the Victoria Cross for his service in World War I and also served in World War II. He was a local Member of Parliament, a Minister of National Defence and became Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia in 1960. Pearkes passed away in 1984 at the age of 94.
The Saanich Braves were established in 1967 as one of the founding teams of the VIJHL. The Braves have won the VIJHL championship (Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy) a total of seven times including three years in a row from 1978 to 1980. They captured their only the BC Junior B Championship (Cyclone Taylor Cup) in 1976.
The Braves announced plans to rename their hockey team in July 2020.
“The Saanich Junior Braves name is not respectful to our First Nations and does not reflect the valued relationships we hold with local First Nations communities or with our First Nations players. We have decided to rename the team and have started a develop a name that upholds our core values."
On October 2, 2020, they were officially rebranded as the Saanich Predators.
Brent Polischuk is the Predators head coach and Robb McInnis, former coach of the Sidney Capitals (BCJHL), is one of his assistants.
Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy
Brent Patterson was a Saanich Braves player and the 1976/77 MVP of the South Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Tragically, Patterson died after suffering chest pains during a game at the 1977 Cyclone Taylor Cup tournament in Quesnel. The VIJHL championship trophy is named in his honour.
Adam Cracknell spent 2000/01 with the Saanich Braves, scoring 51 points in 47 games. The next year he moved up to the Western Hockey League where he played four seasons with the Kootenay Ice. In 2004 he was drafted in the 9th round by the Calgary Flames and made his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues on December 15, 2011. Cracknell has appeared in 208 NHL games with St. Louis, Vancouver and Edmonton. In 2015 he scored the game-winning shootout goal for the Vancouver Canucks in their pre-season game with the San Jose Sharks at the Q Centre. In 2020/21, Cracknell is playing in Denmark for Esbjerg Energy.
Matt Irwin grew up in Brentwood Bay and was a teammate of Jamie Benn on the same little league baseball team. Irwin was with Saanich in 2004/05 and the next year advanced to the Junior A Nanaimo Clippers of the BC Hockey League (BCHL). With the Clippers, he was selected as the Top Defenceman in the BCHL Coastal Conference for 2007 and 2008. After playing college hockey at the University of Massachusetts, Irwin signed with the Worchester Sharks of the American Hockey League. He made his NHL debut in 2012 with the San Jose Sharks and is currently playing for the Nashville Predators.
Victoria Cougars (Western Hockey League)
The Victoria Cougars held almost all of their training camps at Pearkes Arena. The last Cougars camp was in 1990 before they relocated their pre-season training to Lake Cowichan.
The Cougars hosted six WHL preseason games at Pearkes:
1984 vs Portland Winterhawks (defending Memorial Cup Champion)
1985 vs New Westminster Bruins
1986 vs New Westminster Bruins
1990 vs Portland Winterhawks
1990 vs Spokane Chiefs
1991 vs Tacoma Rockets (1st year in the WHL)