Driving east from Vancouver through the fertile plains of the Fraser Valley, Chilliwack is the last major city before the flatland turns into mountains and the road begins the long climb up through the Coquihalla Bypass. Chilliwack is a good ninety minutes east of Vancouver and the Giants, and with a long history of supporting the BCHL Chiefs and a new 5000-seat arena, the WHL granted the city their 22nd franchise in 2006. Despite reasonable fan support, though, deep-pocketed owners on Vancouver Island lured the Bruins to Victoria a mere five years later, to which Chilliwack shrugged and recreated the Chiefs, who still exist and still play at the building.
The Chilliwack Coliseum, or the Prospera Centre as it was known then, sits on a small hill on the north side of Chilliwack. It's squat from the road, with the hill hiding most of its bulk, and the architecture is blandly indistinguished, with yellow support beams protruding from under the roof. Inside, the main entrance opens onto the arena concourse, where a fairly generic modern clone rink awaits. It's not hard to understand why the WHL came here in the first place - it's big, airy, high-ceilinged, with suites over the concourse and more than enough seats to meet the needs of a WHL team.
Not surprisingly, there are no signs of the Chilliwack Bruins anywhere on site. The seating has a big CHIEFS wordmark in it like a British football ground, which I loved, and the team is fully decked-out in Chilliwack Chiefs colours. The BCHL has some surprisingly large arenas, and the Chilliwack Coliseum fits right in with the best of them - a little spartan and short on luxury, but more than up to the needs of the WHL should they ever decide to return.
Inside Chilliwack Coliseum
What's It Used for Today?
Chilliwack Coliseum was built as the home of the BCHL's Chiefs, and it is the home of the BCHL's Chiefs that it remains. It was built and is owned by the city, and it's also used by the locals when the hockey team isn't present.
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