West Kelowna Warriors goalie Cole Demers plays with a young fan at Royal LePage Place. It was announced Friday, the team has new owners. —Image: contributed

West Kelowna Warriors BCHL hockey team sold

New ownership group included a former part-owner of the team, Kim Dobranski

By Matthew Abrey

The West Kelowna Warriors B.C. Hockey League team has new owners.

According to a news release from the junior ‘A’ club Friday, a new ownership group called KD Sports Ltd., has bought the team.

KD Sports is comprised of existing part-owner Kim Dobranski and a minority silent partner that will oversee team operations for the 2018/19 season.

“I am very excited to work towards developing a sustainable business model where the community can participate and take ownership in this team,” said Dobranski in the release.

“Our division and the BCHL is the top league to play and enjoy junior hockey in Canada, and we are very fortunate to have this calibre of hockey in our backyard… Communities thrive socially and economically when they adopt a sports team and teams such as the Warriors also help build a sense of identity for a community.”

Since moving to West Kelowna from Langley in 2006, the Warriors had been under the ownership of Mark Cheyne and the Vision Sports Group, before the deal to acquire the team was struck earlier this month between the previous ownership group and KD Sports Ltd.

“We are calling on the public and business community to participate in the success of this franchise,” continued Dobranski. “By buying season tickets or sponsoring and volunteering at games, support these players who come here to represent our community.”

Related story: New ownership model for Warriors

The Warriors were national junior “A” champions in 2016, defeating the Lloydminster Bobcats 4-0 in the Royal Bank Cup final.

Despite the success, it appeared the team would be forced to leave West Kelowna following the next season when Cheyne said financial losses were too much for him to continue to cover on his own. In a bid to save the team, a number of local investors steped up to become part of a larger ownership group and keep the Warriors in town.

The Warriors will open their 2018/19 regular season with a home-and-home series against the division rival Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday, Sept. 7 in Trail, with the home opener following the next night— , Sept. 8—when the Warriors host the Smoke Eaters at Royal Lepage Place.

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