Burnaby, B.C. – The BC Hockey League announced today that the city of Cranbrook has been awarded an expansion franchise.

The Cranbrook Bucks will become the league’s 18th team and will begin play in the 2020-21 season, playing out of Western Financial Place in Cranbrook.

"We are pleased to add Cranbrook as the 18th member of the BC Hockey League," said BCHL Commissioner Chris Hebb. "The city already has a rich hockey history and we are excited to see them add to that legacy and bring BCHL hockey to another great community in our province."

The Bucks are led by Majority Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen.

Lieuwen was previously a professional goaltender, playing five seasons in the AHL and ECHL and also suiting up for seven NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres in the 2013-14 season. He also had a brief stint in the BCHL as a member of the Westside Warriors in 2007-08 where he played 11 games.

“We are extremely excited to bring a BCHL franchise to Cranbrook and the East Kootenay,” said Lieuwen. “The Cranbrook Bucks Hockey Club looks forward to being a proud member of the Cranbrook community and surrounding areas for many years to come. We are grateful for all parties involved in bringing the BCHL to Cranbrook and we can’t wait for the puck to drop for the 2020-21 season.”

The mayor of Cranbrook is equally excited to bring a BCHL team to the city.

“Having a BCHL franchise showcasing an exciting brand of hockey will be a great addition to the economic well-being of the City,” said Lee Pratt, Mayor of the City of Cranbrook. “Nathan and his group, along with City staff have worked closely together these last few months to bring this great entertainment to the citizens at an affordable price. We welcome the Bucks to Cranbrook and look forward to many years of exciting hockey.”

The addition of Cranbrook will trigger a realignment of the current BCHL divisions which will be announced at a later date.

For more information on the Bucks, you can visit their website at www.cranbrookbucks.ca or follow them on social media.