PRINCETON, N.J. – Victoria will make ECHL history again on Sunday when it hosts Bakersfield in the first-ever regular season league game played outside the United States. The game will be the first professional hockey game featuring a Victoria team to be played in the British Columbia capital since the Victoria Maple Leafs played in the Western Hockey League in 1966-67.
The Salmon Kings and Condors will also play on Tuesday and Wednesday. Victoria plays in the West Division of the National Conference with Alaska (Anchorage), Bakersfield, Fresno, Idaho (Boise), Las Vegas, Long Beach and San Diego.
After opening the season with 14 road games, the Salmon Kings will now play 14 home games in a row at the Bear Mountain Arena, a 2,800-seat facility that opened in February in the Victoria suburb of Colwood, British Columbia. Victoria is awaiting completion of the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, a $30 million state-of-the-art multipurpose facility with a seating capacity of 7,000.
Victoria made league history on October 22 when it became the first ECHL team outside the United States to play a regular season league game, losing 7-2 at Bakersfield. Because of the historic significance, memorabilia from the game was sent for display at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto which has also requested items from Sunday’s game.
The Salmon Kings played the first-ever ECHL games in Canada, losing twice in preseason matches against Idaho, 7-2 on October 15 at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, British Columbia and 7-4 on October 16 at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan, British Columbia.
Victoria ended its epic season-opening road trip with a 3-2 shootout loss at Bakersfield on Saturday and opens its home stand with a 3-10-1 record, including a 0-2-1 mark against Bakersfield. In 2003-04, Fresno opened with 11 consecutive road games (6-5-0) while awaiting the completion of the Save Mart Center.
Former National Hockey League player and assistant coach Bryan Maxwell is head coach and general manager of the Salmon Kings, returning to the professional coaching ranks after 11 seasons in the Western Hockey League where he won Memorial Cup Championships with Medicine Hat in 1987 and with Spokane in 1991. Named WHL Coach of the Year in 1991-92, the 50-year-old Maxwell compiled a 348-321-54 record in 730 regular season games and a 40-36 mark in 76 postseason games in the WHL. He was an assistant coach in the National Hockey League with the Los Angeles Kings in 1987-88 and 1988-89.
Maxwell was selected in the first round (fourth overall) by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1975 NHL Entry Draft and in the first round (second overall) by the Indianapolis Racers in the 1975 WHA Amateur Draft. He played eight seasons in the NHL from 1977-85 with Minnesota, St. Louis, Winnipeg and Pittsburgh, finishing with 95 points (18g-77a) and 745 penalty minutes in 331 regular season games and two points (1g-1a) and 86 penalty minutes in 15 playoff games. He played three seasons in the WHA with Cleveland, Cincinnati and New England, finishing with 29 points (3g-26a) and 217 penalty minutes in 124 regular season games and one assist and 33 penalty minutes in six playoff games.