BCHL responds to turmoil with WK Warriors

In light of recent staffing changes in the West Kelowna Warriors organization, the BCHL is taking steps to stabilize the club leading into the 2018-19 season.

BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb is personally monitoring the remaining part of the Warriors preparations for the start of the season. Warriors owner Kim Dobranski, who assumed majority control of the club in August from previous owner Mark Cheyne, is cooperating with the BCHL to ensure the Warriors players have a supportive environment for the start of the season.

“I first off want to apologize to the players and their families for any uncertainty caused by the coaching changes that occurred,” said Dobranski. “In the early going here as owner, I made some decisions that, upon reflection, were not in the best interest of the players. With support from the BCHL, I’ve reconsidered those decisions and am confident now that we’ve made a place for our players to develop in a competitive setting.”

Warriors head coach Geoff Grimwood, who stepped in Aug. 21 to replace former coach Rylan Ferster, has been brought back to run the Warriors’ bench after it was announced on Sept. 3 that Grimwood had been relieved of duty by the team. Also rejoining the staff effective immediately are assistant coach Matt Miller, goalie coach Chad Carder and head scout Lance Morey.

The BCHL will work alongside Dobranski and his management staff, directing them in the near term and the league will remain in a supporting role as the season progresses.

“There has been a steep learning curve with a new owner here but we are putting our efforts behind the West Kelowna Warriors and will support and advise them as they request this season,” said Hebb. “This club won a national championship in 2016 and have another outstanding recruiting class this season. I fully expect them to again be a strong team in the Interior Division.”

West Kelowna had eight players on their roster committed to NCAA Div. I programs last season. It is expected two of those players will be back with the team this year as well as three other college-committed players so far.

The Warriors open the 2018-19 season Friday, Sept. 7 in Trail against the Smoke Eaters.