It was officially announced on Sept. 7 that the sale of the Vernon Vipers franchise from the Wray family to brothers John and Tom Glen is complete.
With the 2018-19 season just started, BCHL communications caught up with John Glen for a quick question-and-answer interview.
BCHL – Where did you grow up and what is your own experience playing hockey?
John Glen – Both Tom and I grew up in Saskatchewan, just outside of Regina. I played minor hockey in Lumsden, Saskatchewan; didn’t play at a high level, had a cup of coffee with the Weyburn Red Wings but that’s as high a level that I played.
BCHL – Have you been involved with a team as an owner before?
JG – I’ve never been involved as an owner, however in the past seven years with Spruce Grove (Saints, AJHL), I’ve worn many different hats from scouting to player development, recruitment. I don’t think I drove the bus but that would be about the only thing I didn’t do with the Saints (laughs). But I have a good understanding of how Junior hockey clubs work through the various teams that I’ve been associated with.
BCHL – You and your brother Tom will operate the club together. Have you worked together in the past?
JG – We’ve worked together in the automobile business for years. Tom is more into the resale, retail side of sales. Myself, I’m more into the wholesale entity which allows me to spend significantly more time in Vernon as I have a very flexible schedule. I like to think of myself as a hands-on guy so I will be in the mix for sure.
BCHL – Your son David played in the AJHL with Spruce Grove and earned an NCAA Div. I opportunity at Penn State where he was captain his senior year. What did you learn about the Junior A-NCAA route as a development path for players?
JG – For him, no question it was the right route to go. It not only afforded him a great hockey opportunity but also a university education and probably, as a parent, most importantly a life experience that is second to none. The progression steps, what I learned about the NCAA, from the SAT exams to the (academic) clearinghouse (we handled together). Obviously, there are two Junior hockey paths that kids can take and I really believe that it’s up to the individual which path they go down. Both paths are good, but it depends on the individual which path suits them the best.
BCHL – What attracted you to the Vernon Vipers franchise?
JG – That’s an easy question. In 2010 and 2011, Spruce Grove played Vernon in the Doyle Cup. David was a part of those teams and I can remember staying in Vernon during those playoffs and thinking what an outstanding Junior hockey market this is. The fan support was incredible; looking back and looking to today, I can hardly believe this ownership opportunity came about.
BCHL – The Vipers clubs has been one of the most successful in Canada under the ownership of Duncan Wray. How important is that foundation as you transition into being the owner?
JG – Duncan Wray has set a foundation in place that is second to none. You can only look in the rafters and see the number of banners that are floating around up there; the number of national championships that they’ve won is probably right at the top. We just hope to be able to honour Duncan by following his blueprint; we’d like to think we can put competitive teams on the ice, listen to our fans and pay attention to the business side of the hockey team as well. Again, we’d like to thank the Wrays for setting the table.
BCHL – The BCHL is a recruiting league. Is there anything you can do as owner to make the Vipers an even more attractive option for players?
JG – As owners, we’ll do what is necessary to make Vernon a destination where players want to come and play. Once I’m a little further in the mix, I’ll have a little better idea. The little things like making it a good spot for scouts to come and those little detailed dynamics will be important. I have to get my feet wet here a little bit but we’ll make it a good destination for sure.
BCHL – Are there any changes you have planned yet in hockey operations, game night experience or marketing?
JG – Once I’m able to get a few games under my belt, I’ll have a better understanding of the league. We have a good hockey network in place. Fans of the Vipers will know it’s game night and they’ll be rewarded with a great hockey experience.
BCHL – Are you the type of owner that will be in the rink to mix and mingle with fans?
JG – Absolutely looking forward to it. I encourage them to come up and talk.