04/04/2012 07:14 EDT | Updated 06/04/2012 05:12 EDT

Oil And Gas Industry Recruiting At WHL Games

Recruiters for the oil and gas industry are looking to fans of the Western Hockey League in their search for new employees.

For the last two months, recruiters have been attending WHL games in Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna and Vancouver.

"We found this great alignment between WHL locations and the kind of demographics that we're looking at here," said MEG Energy spokesman Brad Bellows, based in Calgary. "People who may be interested in a fly in, fly out job."

He said the type of people who go to WHL games generally fits the profile of an oil and gas industry worker. Bellows said his company urgently needs workers, and the old ways of recruiting people just don't work as well as they used to.

"Well you know there's a lot of demand for skilled workers, there's a lot of competition, and just putting up a 'help wanted' ad doesn't really cut it anymore.

"So we looked around, and we looked at the WHL and thought this is a really nice match. It's about energy, it's about competition, it's about fun. That's what we feel we're about," said Bellows.

But Jennifer Brandle-McCall, CEO of the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, isn't impressed.

"We're talking about big money being offered here and opportunities that exist," said Brandle-McCall.

She worries big companies out of Alberta are stealing talent that could be used in northern B.C.

"Poaching will continue to grow," said Brandle-McCall.