PANORAMA LEISURE CENTRE
1885 Forest Park Drive
North Saanich BC V8L 4A3
YEAR BUILT - 1978
Panorama Leisure Centre is a recreation complex in North Saanich with a swimming pool, tennis/racquetball facility, weight room and two NHL size ice sheets. Rink B is the larger of the two rinks and home of the Peninsula Panthers of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. (VIJHL)
In 2017, the Panorama Leisure Centre completed a major $2.2 million renovation of Arena B. The renovation added new seating, a giant TV, scoreboard and the rink upgraded to NHL regulation standards,
The franchise originated in 1996 as the Esquimalt Pythons and played their first season at Wertele Arena. In 1997, the Pythons moved to North Saanich and renamed the Peninsula Panthers.
The Panthers have won the Brent Patterson Memorial Trophy (awarded to the VIJHL playoff champion) twice - 2010 and 2011.
Jamie Benn is the most successful alumni of the Peninsula Panthers and the VIJHL. In 2005/06, Benn led the Panthers in scoring as a sixteen-year-old and earned the VIJHL Rookie of the Year award. After picking up 65 points for the Victoria Grizzlies in 2006/07, the Dallas Stars selected Benn in the 2007 NHL entry draft. Benn went on to spend two years with the Kelowna Rockets before making his NHL debut in October 2009. In 2013-14 he won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's top scorer (87 points). He is currently in his eleventh year with the Stars and their captain for the last seven seasons.
Jordie Benn - Jamie Benn's older brother manned the Panthers blueline during the 2004/05 season. The brothers were never teammates with the Panthers but together on the 2006/07 Victoria Grizzlies squad. Jordie spent three years with the Victoria Salsa/Grizzlies and started his pro career with Victoria Salmon Kings n 2008/09. After three years in the minors, Jordie made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars in January 2012. With Dallas, the Benn brothers were reunited and teammates until Jordie was traded in 2017 to the Montreal Canadiens. In 2019, Jordie signed a two-year contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
In 1984, the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League moved to the Panorama Leisure Centre and renamed the Sidney Capitals. Sidney had an affiliation with the Victoria Cougars and supplied many players to the Capitals roster. After two seasons, the franchise moved to Colwood in 1986 and became the Juan de Fuca Whalers.
Darryl Williams split the 1985-86 campaign with the Sidney Capitals and the Victoria Cougars. The next season he moved east and played the remainder of his junior career in the Ontario Hockey League. On March 2, 1993, Williams made his debut with the Los Angeles Kings and became the first person born in Labrador, Newfoundland to play in the NHL.
After retiring in 1999, Williams went into coaching. In 2008 the Vancouver Canucks hired him as an assistant coach to Alain Vigneault and remained there until 2014. In 2015, he followed Vignault to New York and was a Rangers assistant coach until 2018.
In 2015, the Panorama Leisure Centre won the Kraft Hockeyville contest. It's an annual challenge where Canadian communities compete with each other showcasing their local commitment to hockey. The winning community gets a cash prize to upgrade their local home arena, as well as the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game. Because Panorama had limited seating capacity, a 2015 pre-season contest featuring the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks shifted to the Q Centre.