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 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s (VIJHL) Peninsula Panthers.
In 2017, the Panorama Leisure Centre completed a major $2.2 million dollar renovation of Arena B. The renovation added new seating, a giant TV and scoreboard and upgraded the rink up to NHL regulation standards,
The franchise was established in 1996 as the Esquimalt Pythons and played their first year at CFB Esquimalt’s Wertele Arena. In 1997 the Pythons were sold, 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 - 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 was the VIJHL Rookie of the Year. He moved up the Victoria Grizzlies in 2006/07 and was selected by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. After two years with the Kelowna Rockers, Benn made his NHL debut in October 2009. He has twice been named an NHL First Team All-Star Team and won the 2013-14 Art Ross Trophy as the League's top scorer (87 points). Jamie is currently in his eleventh year with the Stars and has been their captain for the last seven seasons.
Jordie Benn - Jamie Benn's older brother was a Panther for the 2004/05 season. The brothers were never teammates with the Panthers but they were 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 of the ECHL in 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.
Ryan O'Byrne - Skated for the Panthers in 2000/01, continued his junior career with the Victoria Salsa and earned a scholarship to Cornell University. He was drafted in 2003 by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round and from 2007 to 2013 O’Byrne appeared in 308 NHL games with Montreal, Colorado and Toronto. He retired in 2016 after playing three seasons in Europe.
From 1984 to 1986 the Panorama Leisure Centre was the home of the Sidney Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League. Sidney was affiliated with the Victoria Cougars and supplied many players to the Capitals roster. In 1986, after two seasons, the franchise moved to Colwood and renamed the Juan de Fuca Whalers.
The only member of the Sidney Capitals who went on to the NHL was Darryl Williams. He split the 1985-86 season with the 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 become 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 Vignault 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 for upgrading their local home arena, as well as the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game. Because the arena at Panorama had limited seating capacity, a pre-season game featuring the San Jose Sharks and the Vancouver Canucks was played instead at the Q Centre.