By Percy Hebert - Quesnel Cariboo Observer
Published: May 17, 2011 6:00 PM
If Curtis Gassoff has his way, the Quesnel Kangaroos hockey team will return to the Vault in September. Last season Gassoff played with the Williams Lake Stampeders of the Central Interior Hockey League and now wants to bring the CIHL and the storied Kangaroos franchise back to Quesnel.
“It was fun,” Gassoff, who described himself as a grinding forward, said of his season with the Stampeders. “But it wasn’t the Kangaroos.”
A formal request has been made to the league and a decision regarding the Quesnel franchise will be made at the league’s annual general meeting, May 28 in Smithers.
In the meantime, Gassoff, 25, is busy recruiting players, staff and volunteers, hoping to resurrect the once popular and successful Quesnel Kangaroos for the 2011-2012 Central Interior Hockey League season.
The decision to revive the Roos was an easy one for Gassoff. “I grew up around the Kangaroos, it’s a trademark in Quesnel,” he said. “I would like to be a part of that.”
The Gassoff family has a history with the Quesnel Kangaroos. His father Ken and uncles Brad and Gary Gassoff suited up for the Roos at one point in their hockey careers. Ken was drafted by the New York Rangers , Brad played for the Canucks and Gary had a stint with the Vernon Vikings, later the Vernon Vipers.
“When I was a kid I remember going to Kangaroos games,” Gassoff said of a team that won national and provincial championships. Gassoff also remembers playing with the likes of Brett and Garrett Festerling.
“They were good,” Gassoff said of Brett now a member of the Montreal Canadiens farm team the Hamilton Bulldogs and Garrett who now plays in Europe.
The CIHL is a senior AA hockey league with teams in nine cities across north-central B.C., from Williams Lake to Prince Rupert. If the league representatives approve the Quesnel Kangaroos franchise, Gassoff will need to show the league representatives that there are enough fans in Quesnel to support the Kangaroos, that there is support from sponsors, there is available ice time, a coaching staff, executive, jerseys and a roster of players. All of this will have to be in by August 1.
“The interest is there,” Gassoff said of his early attempts to round up some players. But a lot of guys aren’t sure with their work schedules.” Some of the potential players Gassoff hopes to convince to suit up for the Kangaroos include Jeff Gagnon and Paul Jirodet, who played for the Stampeders last year, the Tomassetti brothers Nick and Alessio, as well as former Quesnel Millionaires player David Gordon.
“There’s a large group of very skilled players in Quesnel capable of competing and winning, Gassoff said confidently. “We just want to play hockey,” he said. For information regarding volunteering or sponsorship call Gassoff at 250-983-8575, or e-mail: email@example.com