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

New partnership lets Kelowna family save on medical transporation costs

New Hope Air and Airbnb initiative provides patients free accommodation while traveling to city centres for medical reasons

Kelowna karate stars bring home 24 medals from B.C. championships

Thirteen athletes from Kelowna Karate and Fitness performed strong at the provincials last weekend

WATCH: Ballet Kelowna graces the stage in Prince Rupert

The Lester Centre of the Arts hosted the group who performed Mambo and Other Works

City of Kelowna implements two new electric vehicle charging stations

EV drivers will now have four charging options across the city

Third Space Life Charity announces Jody Phil as executive director

Jody Pihl will succeed Allie Grey who served as the executive director for the past three years

BC SPCA Kelowna holiday bake sale kicks off Nov. 7

Event will help to raise money for stray and neglected animals

B.C. mayor urges premier to tweak road speeds in an ‘epidemic of road crash fatalities’

Haynes cites ICBC and provincial documents in letter to John Horgan

Hergott: Day of remembrance for road traffic victims

Lawyer Paul Hergott’s latest column

Straight from DeHart

Train Station owners open another station stop

Revelstoke man who sexually assaulted drunk woman sentenced to 18 months house arrest

For the first nine months he cannot leave his home between 2 p.m. and 11 a.m. except for work

Kamloops RCMP seek driver who hit teenager, then drove away

The 13-year-old boy was in a crosswalk, crossing Seymour Street at Eighth Avenue

COLUMN: Shuffling the deck chairs

Reflections after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his new cabinet

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

Representing himself, Okanagan inmate delays trial

Afshin Maleki Ighani trial adjourned until Nov. 21

Most Read