In late March and early April, 2013, Victoria's Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre hosted the Men's World Curling Championships. The tournament was late enough in the year that it wouldn't conflict with the WHL's regular season, but with the Royals making the playoffs that year, the team was rendered homeless. So what was then known as Bear Mountain Arena stepped in, hosting the Royals for three games against Kamloops.
Bear Mountain Arena stands in suburban Colwood, a short drive west of downtown. It sits in a valley behind a senior's home, to the point that it's not even visible from the road, but once you drive around the old folks' home and down the hill, the arena appears in front of you, surrounded by soccer fields and parking. From the front, it's quite lovely, with stonework and timbers augmenting the facade, but around the side it's a pretty standard metal hockey arena, with little ornamentation.
Inside, Bear Mountain is a smaller version of a modern clone rink. An oval of seats surrounds the ice, with a top concourse extending around the building and suites down one side. Tons of banners hang from the ceiling, which is a really nice touch, honouring the Victoria Grizzlies and the Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse team.
Western Canada, with its longstanding support of provincial junior hockey in a way that isn't common in Ontario, is full of arenas like this - smaller than CHL capacity, but with modern facilities and catering to a slightly lower level. The BCHL is minor league to the WHL's major league, and that's what Bear Mountain feels like - a minor league version of a WHL rink. It's still in great shape and could easily host the Royals again in an emergency should the need arise.
Inside Bear Mountain Arena
What's the Arena Used for Today?
The Q Centre, as it's now called, opened in 2004 in suburban Colwood to replace downtown's Victoria Memorial Arena as a home to the BCHL. At that time, the Victoria Grizzlies were called the Victoria Salsa (looooooool), and with the Memorial Arena facing demolition owing to a leaking roof and spiralling maintenance costs, Colwood built a BCHL-sized arena to host the team, which it still does to this day.
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