The West Kelowna Warriors are getting a break on the rent they pay to call Royal LePage Place home.
The B.C. Hockey League team will have their annual lease payment cut to $52,000 from $63,000 after West Kelowna council voted in favour of the reduction Tuesday evening.
Despite winning the national junior tier 2 championship earlier this year, the team says it lost $300,000 in 2016 and that prompted the request for the reduction.
city parks manager Bob Kush told council the loss was not the first for the team and the new rate is typical of what other BCHL teams in the region pay to play in their home arenas.
Council Rusty Ensign said his review of attendance at Warriors games showed the team averaged about 900 spectators per game, the same as Salmon Arm and a little less than Vernon, both of whom pay similar amounts in rent for their rinks.
As part of the new deal, the team will give up its control of concessions at the Royal LePage Place, a move Mayor Doug Findlater said will reduce the $13,000 per year loss to the city to about $1,000 per year.
Findlater said while nearly as great as great as the estimated $31 million pr year economic impact generated in Kelowna by its WHL team, the Rockets, the Warriors do have a positive economic impact on West Kelowna and would be missed if they were not in town.
The only opposing vote to the motion to lower the annual rent for the Warriors came from Coun. Carol Zanon, who said while she supported the team, she did not feel it was up to the city to make the hockey team’s business viable.