Warriors may be exiting West Kelowna

Mark Cheyne, the owner of the BCHL team, is negotiating to move the Warriors to North Delta

The West Kelowna Warriors

The defending Canadian Junior A hockey champions may soon be on their way out of West Kelowna.

Mark Cheyne, the owner of the B.C. Hockey League team, is in the midst of negotiating a move of the Warriors’ franchise to North Delta’s Sungod Arena.

“We’re in negotiations, no doubt, but that’s where we sit until I get something on paper,” Cheyne told the Surrey Now.

“I’ll be honest and up front with you, the sooner the better, if it was going to happen for me, but it’s up in the air right now,” Cheyne added. “I’ll know more in the next two weeks probably.”

The relocation bid and potential move of the Warriors is being discussed this week at the league’s board of governors meetings.

Since the arrival of the BCHL club 10 years ago in West Kelowna, the Warriors have been a money-losing proposition for team ownership.

Even after winning a league and RBC Cup championship last season, the Warriors’ owner said little has changed for the club, both in terms of interest and drawing fans to Royal LePage Place.

“It’s about a chance to break even there (in North Delta) because we just can’t break even here, you know,” Cheyne said.

“It’s just a better move financially. With the (WHL) Rockets here and everything, it’s just a case of (people) don’t support it here as well as they need to, that’s for sure, even with a national championship, a really good team last year,” he added.

“I was told all along, for 10 years, that once we get over that hump, win the division, win something, things will change here drastically, but that’s just not the case.”

BCHL commissioner John Grisdale confirmed to the Surrey Now that “there’s interest for a team to play in North Delta, either a relocation or an expansion team,” starting in the fall of 2017.

Grisdale didn’t guarantee a decision would be made this week but said “The league will look where it’s at, where its existing franchises are, to see what’s best for the league. We have 17 franchises, and we have to consider what’s best for them.”

The Warriors relocated to West Kelowna from Langley for the start of the 2006-07 BCHL season. Cheyne was a co-owner for two seasons, before taking on sole ownership of the BCHL club in the fall of 2009.

—With files from Surrey Now—

Warriors host Vernon…

The Warriors look to stretch their BCHL home-ice winning streak to eight games Friday when they host the Vernon Vipers.

Face-off at Royal LePage Place is 7 p.m.

West Kelowna made it seven straight at home with a 7-3 win Sunday over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

Conner Sodergren’s hot streak continued, as the Warriors forward had a goal and four assists. The 20-year-old Massachusetts native has seven goals and 12 points in his last five games.

 

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