Vernon Tiger Kaden Doughty fights past Kamloops Venom defender Brady Georget to send the ball to his team down the box and snags an assist in Game 1 Thompson Okanagan Junior Lacrosse League finals action at Kal Tire Place Sunday, July 15. The Tigers took the best-of-five series 3-0. (Parker Crook/Morning Star)

Vernon, North Okanagan lacrosse left without permanent home

Vernon, North Okanagan lacrosse officials upset over decision to leave ice in Kal Tire Place North

North Okanagan lacrosse officials feel disenfranchised following Greater Vernon Recreation’s decision to leave the ice in Kal Tire Place North for five years.

When discussions surrounding the new arena began, North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse Association president Karen Gares and Vernon Tigers general manager Duane Barr believed they had found a home for both box leagues after the Civic Arena had gone into disrepair.

Related: Civic Arena to be demolished

“Both minor and junior lacrosse were brought into the field to discuss what we would like to see,” Gares said. “To have a facility where we could host was a big thing for us.”

Greater Vernon Recreation’s decision to leave the ice in the arena year-round came when Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy and the Training House (formerly Excel Fitness) secured tenancy for the two lease spaces in the expansion.

Related: Tenants named for Vernon arena expansion

“The situation with the ice is kind of evolving because of the two tenants,” said Doug Ross, director of recreation services. “When we started planning this, we really didn’t know who we would end up within these two tenant places. It changed the facility in a lot of ways. Right now, we do have tentative plans to have ice in the arena during July and August.

According to Ross, the lower lease space occupied by Pursuit of Excellence under a three-year lease is 1,820 square feet and the upper space occupied by the Training House for five years is approximately 3,350 square feet.

“Originally, when we planned it out, we thought it would be similar to our plans for the Civic Arena. It kept evolving,” Ross said. “There will be more spin-off benefits.”

While it wasn’t originally in the arena schematics, Ross said having the premiere hockey training facility will pay off by allowing serious athletes to stay, play and train in Vernon while having access to the scientific programming. Additionally, Ross said bot tenants will generate additional rentals for non-prime time ice.

Related: Community weekend to open Vernon’s Kal Tire Place North

Gares and Barr said they aren’t against the arena having ice and they support local hockey, but they wanted to be a part of that conversation.

“I was under the impression that we would probably move there,” Barr said. “It would just give a better atmosphere. I’m a bit disappointed that we will not be there.”

Currently, both North Okanagan Minor Lacrosse and the Vernon Tigers utilize Hassen Memorial Arena in Armstrong for practices and games, alongside Kal Tire Place and Priest Valley Arena.

However, Gares said not having access to Kal Tire Place North due to ice in the rink limits both organizations’ hosting abilities.

“We’re taking that value out of Vernon,” Gares said, noting that she heard that ice would be left in the arena when she went to the arena discuss hosting bantam lacrosse provincials.

Barr agreed and added that he believes, without access to both arenas, it limits lacrosse’s growth in the North Okanagan.

“I look at the South Okanagan, in Penticton, they have the South Okanagan Hockey School, it takes up all the floor time. I really don’t want to see that happen here,” Barr said.

Both organizations have access to Kal Tire Place and Priest Valley Arena. Ross said those services would continue to be available.

“Certainly we understand lacrosse’s position and are talking to them about events in the future and how we might accommodate them,” Ross said.

With Civic Arena no longer available, Gares said lacrosse in Vernon is left without a permanent home.

“For us, this isn’t about hockey or lacrosse. Anything that gets kids out there is a big plus. We were given the impression that this arena would be our new home. That is our issue. You can’t make us believe one thing and change your mind without discussion,” Gares said.

“We have no home. That’s the point we want to make. For us, nothing changes.”

Related: Photos – concrete slab poured at Kal Tire Place North


@VernonNews
parker.crook@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Peachland’s doctors moving out of the district

All the doctors at Beach Avenue Medical Centre are leaving

Kelowna man catches mysterious chicken killer on camera

Rod Tribiger wanted to find out what was killing his chickens

Rockets forward Erik Gardiner announces retirement

Gardiner has played for the Rockets since 2016

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Long-time Okanagan construction business closing

After 65 years, OK Builders announces it’s closing its Kelowna, Vernon and Penticton operations

Most Read