JUAN DE FUCA ARENA
1767 Island Highway
Victoria BC V9B 1J1
YEAR BUILT - 1972
SEATING CAPACITY - 950
Juan de Fuca Arena celebrated its 50th anniversary on October 22, 2022. It 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. During the pandemic, the arena upgraded spectator seating and replaced the playing surface.
Juan De Fuca Gulls
In the 1970s and 1980s, the arena was home to 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 renamed the Juan De Fuca Whalers. Grant Erickson, former Victoria Cougars assistant coach and NHL player, became the Whalers head coach in 1986/87. Juan de Fuca Arena was home to the Whalers for two years before the franchise relocated to Cowichan Valley in 1988.
The Cowichan Valley franchise returned to Juan de Fuca arena in 1990 as the Victoria Warriors. In November 1990, former Victoria Cougars coach Gary Cunningham became co-owner. He immediately took over as head coach but resigned in 1991 because of health reasons. After three seasons, the team moved 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 constructed. The Salsa played the first half of the 2003/04 season at Juan de Fuca before moving 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 1989 and was a second-round draft pick of the Washington Capitals. Dafoe retired in 2005 after 415 games for the Washington Capitals, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers.
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 is 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 1991/92 team in scoring with 105 points. He was the Victoria Grizzlies GM/coach from 2002-2007 and from 2014 to 2022.
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 played 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 2009 and made his NHL debut in 2012. He is currently with the Edmonton Oilers. Tyson is the son of Len Barrie, former Victoria Cougar player and Tampa Bay Lightning owner.
Tampa Bay Lightning
When Victoria Cougars alumni Len Barrie purchased the Tampa Bay Lightning, he brought their 2008 rookie camp to 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 that camp but was not associated with the Lightning since it was one year before his draft eligibility.
Los Angeles Kings
Wayne Gretzky made his first on-ice appearance with the Los Angeles Kings at Juan de Fuca Arena. The Kings held the first couple of days of their 1988 training camp at Juan de Fuca before moving to Memorial Arena.