West Kelowna Warriors new front office personnel. (Left) New president of hockey operations and West Kelowna native Chris Laurie and (right) John Murphy, one of two new owners of the franchise. (Photo: Mackenzie Britton - Capital News)

West Kelowna Warriors new front office personnel. (Left) New president of hockey operations and West Kelowna native Chris Laurie and (right) John Murphy, one of two new owners of the franchise. (Photo: Mackenzie Britton - Capital News)

New era for West Kelowna Warriors with new ownership, management and culture

The Warriors’ revealed the team’s new president and outlook for remainder of the season

A new era has begun for West Kelowna hockey as faces were put to names in the team’s introduction of the new owners and the team’s new president.

Earlier this week, the Warriors announced that Boston-based business man John Murphy and West Kelowna local Rod Hume had purchased the team from the BC Hockey League. On Wednesday, the ownership team introduced another West Kelowna local, Chris Laurie, as the Warriors’ new president of both hockey and business operations.

Murphy said that the new management team is ready to bring the Warriors out of the proverbial gutters after a financially challenging and dramatic three years under the previous ownership.

“I think West Kelowna deserves and can support a junior hockey franchise,” he said.

“We want to grow a fanbase and we’re going to grow it everyday; we have a plan. We think strong ownership with professional management and a winning culture can bring a successful franchise here to West Kelowna.”

READ MORE: West Kelowna Warriors find new owner

READ MORE: Front office changes continue for West Kelowna Warriors

New and professional management comes in the form of Laurie, who served as the team’s marketing director from 2006 to 2008. Now, over 10 years later, Laurie returns with experience under his belt and ready to make the necessary hockey and business changes to bring back a hockey-loving and winning culture to the Warriors.

Laurie had a three-year run as the general manager with the North American Hockey League’s Armarillo Bulls where he won a league championship in his final year and is ready to reignite the passion for his hometown team.

“It starts in the community,” said Laurie.

“We’ll be looking to build and rebuild any relationships that maybe aren’t where they should be right now and really start with the grassroots.”

Laurie said there is plenty of work ahead where the Warriors will be looking to earn back the fanbase’s loyalty and patronage.

While changes are coming to the top, both Murray and Laurie said that though the Warriors are struggling for wins this season, there will be no changes to the team’s coaching staff and that there is 100 per cent faith in coach Brandon West.

“Brandon and his group of done a good job in keeping the guys competitive and keeping them focused,” said Laurie.

“We look at this as an opportunity for a clean slate for us and our group and we want to build on that.”

Murphy, who’s son played for the Warriors two seasons ago, said that they have complete confidence in West.

“He has our support,” said Murphy.

“He’s thinking every day how to make the team better, how to coach the team better. Brandon’s a professional coach and that’s what we want.”

READ MORE: Goods and bads in Okanagan College basketball home-opener

The team’s last year under former owner Kim Dobranski was riddled with bad press, lawsuits and left a sour taste in many West Kelowna fans’ mouths which led to a steady drop in attendance.

Despite the past struggles, the team’s new management is ready for the opportunity to reinvest into the Warriors.

“We want to look forward, that’s our goal,” said Murphy

“We’re putting a team in place to do that and we don’t want to look backwards. This team has had a lot of peaks and valleys, but we want to reestablish a winning franchise and a franchise that connects with the community. We’re not going to talk much about the past.”

The Warriors will return to Royal LePage Place on Nov. 22 for their first home game since the end of October.

Laurie has promised new features for the Warriors home return, including a 2-for-1 drink happy hour, and invites the entire West Kelowna community to come experience the new look, new cultured Warriors.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
UPDATE: West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

A bus at downtown Kelowna’s Queensway Transit Exchange. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna transit system poised for recovery: transit manager

2021 numbers already show ridership levels at or higher than the projected recovery

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

Most Read