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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Boomer Talk: Vernon homeless outreach team and COVID-19

Columnist Carole Fawcett catches up with two generous women going above and beyond to support the community

Morning Start: Dogs can smell cancer

Your morning start for Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Shoppers Drug Mart launches in-store virtual service at several B.C. stores

The service is now available in 12 rural B.C. communities and will expand province-wide in August

Central Okanagan Foundation invests over $230,000 in local charities

The funds came from the organization’s spring 2020 grants

Vernon man arrested after reports of assaults on Kal Lake Rotary Pier

RCMP officers successful in taking man into custody after takedown on railway trestle

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Most Read