The Grand Forks Border Bruins have been sold to a city doctor, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League announced Friday, May 14.
“The team means a great deal for the community, so as somebody who’s immersed in the well-being of folks in town, I think this investment to make the on-ice product the best possible in Junior B is wonderful to be part of,” said new owner Dr. Mark Szynkaruk.
Szynkaruk expressed interest in buying the team from the Grand Forks Border Bruins Association which voted to approve the sale in March, according to team spokesperson Kevin McKinnon. The sale was later approved by the league’s board of directors.
Szynkaruk said he plans to attract new talent to the Bruins through the team’s education program. The organization has committed to paying some post-secondary tuition for players, who will be expected to attend “at least one course at a university or nearby Selkirk College,” according to league spokesperson Emanuel Sequeira.
“We want to bring in the best players and people,” Szynkaruk explained.
“We want to develop them and move them through the pipeline, whether that’s going to the NCAA or Junior A. That’s the vision I’m setting forth.”
The team has developed several players who later made it into the NHL, including Ron Areshenekoff, Glen Merkosky, Rudy Poeschek, Craig Redmond, Sequeira said. The Border Bruins joined the KIJHL when the league was established in 1969.
The KIJHL suspended league play last November due to COVID-19 restrictions against long-distance travel and indoor sports.