Letter: WHL refereeing turns fans off

We are no longer able to stand the level of refereeing your league provides…

To the editor:

Re: The WHL and the Kelowna Rockets.

We are no longer able to stand the level of refereeing your league provides and as such have lost our appetite to support your league by buying season tickets. Yes, we are Kelowna fans and kudos to Kamloops for winning the series as they are a great team.

But when you have such an important game as Wednesday’s game 4 and the WHL officials call an incredible 12 penalties against Kelowna and only one against Kamloops, it is just a complete disgrace and insult to everyone’s intelligence and the players’ hard work and spirit of competition.

In four decades of playing and watching hockey at all levels, we have never ever seen anything like this. We feel badly for the Kelowna players and embarrassed for the Kamloops organization that they had to win a game and series that way. We feel sorry for the local fans who bused up to Kamloops to support the Kelowna team.

There are several reasons Kelowna fan attendance is dropping off such as rising costs to support the team and overly expensive food and beverages at Prospera Place, but the inconsistent WHL refereeing is also a big factor for several of us.

We pay top dollar to go to these games and support our team and we expect better. The league needs to stop being so cheap and pay these guys a better wage so they get better quality refs and the officials can dedicate themselves full time to this career.

And when games are called as incredibly one-sided as game 4 between Kamloops and Kelowna, the league needs to have the guts to publicly discipline the officials properly so a disgrace like that does not happen again and the fans know you give a damn as we are the ones footing the bills for your league and those officials.

Unless we hear someone has been fired or severely disciplined we will look to spend our hard earned dollars elsewhere as we just don’t enjoy the games as much as we used to.

We would suggest others might want to voice their opinions as well and email the league like we did.

The WHL didn’t respond, which is no surprise, but at least as fans we can’t be fined by the league for speaking out, unlike the players and the teams.

I’m joining lots of others in putting away the cheque book and if enough of us do that then maybe all the parties mentioned in this letter will appreciate us a little more.

Kevin Irvine, Kelowna

David Worrall, West Kelowna