When it comes to the playoffs, one scenario is already etched in stone for the West Kelowna Warriors—Rylan Fertser’s club will have home ice advantage for the first round of the B.C. Hockey League postseason.
The questions of where the Warriors finish in the Interior Division and who they meet in the first round will be answered with this weekend’s final regular season games.
The Warriors will finish in either third or fourth place and will face either the Merritt Centennials or Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Coincidentally, the Warriors will be in Merritt on Friday night and in Salmon Arm on Saturday to close out the regular schedule.
“We’re going to see one of those teams a week later, so it’s good to have one last look,” said Ferster. “There will probably be little tweaks made, but you can’t really change the way you play at this time of year. The teams all know each other very well.
“It’ll be a good series whoever we see.”
While the Warriors’ future in West Kelowna beyond this season remains uncertain, Ferster said he and his players remain focused on the club’s most pressing and immediate goals.
“We addressed it once when it came out that the team might be moving, but really haven’t brought it up since,” he said. “We’re here today and we still have hockey to play, so there’s not much reason to talk about it.
“That’s not something we’re trying to hide, it’s just that if you worry about tomorrow, you forget about today. That’s never more true when you’re getting into the playoffs. You have to be focused on what’s at hand and nothing else.”
In January, owner Mark Cheyne expressed his intention to sell the club to a group of local businessmen on the Lower Mainland. The potential move of the Warriors to the Sungod Arena in North Delta has yet to be approved.
Next Tuesday a group of local fans will gather at West Kelowna City Hall at 5:30 p.m. to rally support for keeping the Warriors in the Okanagan.
For more on the Warriors rally see page A6.