Steam ownership changes

New ownership group, led by team president Sean Paxman, is now in place

The Summerland Steam’s ownership change is now complete.

On Sunday, the team announced that a new ownership group, led by team president Sean Paxman, is now in place.

Gregg Wilson, the outgoing owner, is no longer involved with the Junior B hockey team.

In a news release, the team thanked former co-owners Wilson and Tim Keilty for their efforts over the past six seasons.

However, the ownership change is not expected to affect the team on the ice, said Mike Rigby, general manager of the team.

“As far as the team and the day-to-day operations, nothing will change,” he said.

John DePourcq, the head coach of the team, is returning for a sixth season.

Over the past five seasons, DePourcq has 150 regular season coaching wins to his credit.

Last year, the Steam finished with 34 wins, nine losses, one tie and three overtime losses, placing second in the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference: Okanagan Division in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League.

The Steam was formed in 2011 and began playing in the 2011 to 2012 season.

While the team did not qualify for the playoffs in the first season, Summerland has been in the division semifinals each year since the 2012 to 2013 season and in the division finals for the past three years.

In the spring of 2016, the Steam advanced to the conference finals, losing to the 100 Mile House Wranglers.

For the coming season, Rigby would like to see more community support for the team.

He is also looking for additional billet families for out-of-town players.

Last year, the team had three players from Whitehorse, Yukon, as well as players from Alberta and other parts of British Columbia.

For the coming season, out-of-town players are expected once again.

“They need a safe environment in which to live and develop,” he said.

Rigby also hopes to have additional fans attending the games for the coming season.

Last year’s attendance was low, despite the quality of the games, he said.

“There are more honest mistakes at the Junior B level,” he said. “The kids aren’t as polished with their skills.”

The hockey season will begin in early September.

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