Russian hockey tour cancelled

The Russians from Team Tropic aren't coming after all. So Alberni's organizing committee is undoing all its work for the goodwill tour.

The Russians from Team Tropic in Tula, Russia, aren’t coming after all.

Ron Doetzel, manager of recreation services at the Alberni Valley Multiplex, said he received an e-mail early Thursday morning from the Russian team saying they are not coming for the Goodwill Ambassador Tour that was to feature four oldtimers’ hockey games in Parksville, Port Alberni, Duncan and Campbell River.

“The tour is cancelled,” Doetzel said this morning. “The Russian team couldn’t get all of their players to obtain travel visas. They decided if they couldn’t all come then they wouldn’t come at all.”

Doetzel said the organizing committees in all four communities are scrambling to undo their plans. The Russians were originally to arrive in Port Alberni on April 3. Plans were delayed before Easter when the team announced they were having difficulty obtaining visas. With some assistance from the embassy in Vancouver, Doetzel thought the problem had been ironed out.

“The e-mail came this morning, and what do you say? We don’t know anything why several people couldn’t get visas. The other Island communities are disappointed, our committee is disappointed, but in the end there’s nothing we could have done differently,” he said.

“With all the events we’ve planned, this one went sideways on us and we all got caught by surprise.”

Doetzel said he didn’t think any money would be lost with the cancellation, but it was too early to determine. “We’re all dealing with our emotions at this point.”

Tickets for the Port Alberni game, which was slated for Saturday, April 6, can be refunded as of Friday, April 5 during regular hours at the Multiplex and Echo Centre. Doetzel said refunds will be available until all the tickets are returned.