The concerns over the amount of available ice time in West Kelowna are growing.
The West Kelowna Warriors have changed the start times of their Saturday night home games in the upcoming season from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m., hoping to engage more families and younger fans.
The switch of the start times has had a ripple effect on the other leagues that share ice at Royal LePage Place, that could limit the amount of teams and players that get to use the ice.
Warriors’ owner Kim Dobranski released a statement this week looking to assure hockey families in West Kelowna.
“Everything we as an organization do is for the benefit of the community at large,” Dobranski said.
“Myself and the all-star cast of staff and volunteers will continue to work for the community.”
In the statement, Dobranski refers mostly to concerns brought forth by West Kelowna Minor Hockey Association, which claims the change of start time could take away significant amounts of time from youth players.
Dobranski claims the Warriors have made other changes to their schedule this season, including eliminating most of their weekday games and most of their Sunday games, which are expected to translate into an increase of ice time for minor hockey, not a decrease.
“Our lease is extremely clear that we are the anchor tenant and have first rights to all ice in Jim Lind and Royal LePage for our practices and games prior to any other program allocations. It’s been this way for 13 years,” Dobranski said.
The Capital News has reached out for a response from West Kelowna Minor Hockey.
West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is slated to meet with the Warriors organization next week to discuss the ongoing concerns with game times and ice availability.
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