JUAN DE FUCA ARENA
1767 Island Highway
Victoria BC V9B 1J1
YEAR BUILT - 1971
SEATING CAPACITY - 950
Juan de Fuca Arena is part of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre located on the Old Island Highway in Colwood. The complex has a pool, weight room, library, golf course, soccer fields and a second ice rink at the Q Centre.
Juan De Fuca Gulls
In the 1970s and 1980s the arena was home for the Juan De Fuca Gulls of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. The franchise disbanded in 1990 with the Gulls winning the league championship once in 1986-87.
Juan De Fuca Whalers
The Sidney Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) moved to Colwood in 1986 and became the Juan De Fuca Whalers. Grant Erickson, former Victoria Cougars assistant coach and NHL player, was the Whalers head coach in 1986/87. Juan de Fuca Arena was home to the Whalers for two years before the franchise relocated to the Cowichan Valley in 1988.
After two years in Cowichan, the Whalers (rebranded the Cowichan Warriors) returned to the Juan de Fuca arena in 1990 as the Victoria Warriors. In November 1990, former Victoria Cougars coach Gary Cunningham became co-owner of the Warriors. He immediately took over as head coach but was forced to resign in early 1991 because of health reasons. The Warriors were around for three years and transferred back to Cowichan in 1993.
Juan de Fuca Arena was the temporary home of the Victoria Salsa while Bear Mountain Arena (Now the Q Centre) was being built. The Salsa played the first half of the 2003/04 season at Juan de Fuca and moved to Bear Mountain Arena (now the Q Centre) in February 2004.
Byron Dafoe was born in England and grew up playing minor hockey in Comox. From 1986-1988, he tended goal for the Juan de Fuca Whalers. He went on to the Portland Winterhawks in 1988 and was a 1989 second-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals (The second goaltender picked in the draft). Dafoe retired in 2005 after appearing in 415 games for the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers.
Byron's son, Chase Dafoe, attended the Victoria Grizzlies training camp in 2018 and is currently with Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL.
Rob Milliken is of the top players in the history of the BCHL. In 1992-93 he led the Victoria Warriors in scoring and won the BCHL Top Defensemen trophy. He still holds the BCHL record for most career goals by a defenseman (85) and eighth in games played (273). Milliken was the head coach of the Victoria Salsa from 2001 to 2003 and scouted with the Victoria Royals from 2011 to 2014.
Craig Didmon spent two years with the Warriors, leading the 1991/91 team in scoring with 105 points. He has been the Victoria Grizzlies head coach since 2015/16.
Juan de Fuca Alumni
Tyson Barrie - In 2006/07 Barrie played Midget for the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies (scoring 130 points), appeared in three playoff games with the Victoria Grizzlies and played seven games with the Kelowna Rockets. From 2007 to 2011, Barrie 256 games with the Rockets, winning the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL's best defenseman in 2010. The Colorado Avalanche drafted Barrie in the third round of the 2009 NHL draft and made his NHL debut with the Avalanche in 2012. On October 10, 2020, he signed a one year contract with the Edmonton Oilers. Tyson Barrie is the son of Len Barrie, the former Victoria Cougar player and Tampa Bay Lightning owner.
Tampa Bay Lightning
When Victoria resident Len Barrie bought the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2008, one of the first things he did was hold their rookie camp at Juan de Fuca Arena. This was the first training camp for Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay's first overall draft pick in 2008. Tyson Barrie also attended the camp but was not associated with the Lightning since it was one year before he was draft eligible.