Potential community owners await Friday announcement on future of Warriors
The countdown is on toward Friday evening, when the fate of the West Kelowna Warriors is expected to be known.
West Kelowna businessman Peter Siemers, who's leading the charge to establish a community-led ownership group, says team owner Mark Cheyne will have a final decision on whether the team will leave town or stay put.
"My understanding is that Mark Cheyne will have a definitive answer on whether he's staying, or moving the team, or folding the team," he said.
"Because the other option is to fold it. And just make the franchise defunct."
Earlier this week, Cheyne confirmed that a deal to re-locate the team to Delta had fallen through.
But Siemers says added optimism has had to be tempered, with another front-runner emerging.
"There is a good opportunity for them to move to Quesnel, where there's a new 2500-seat arena, and they're actively looking for a Junior A club. And it's not a bad fit, because teams that are traveling to Prince George could easily stop in Quesnel. Obviously, that would be a smaller catchment area, population-wise," he said
"You know what I'm confident about, is that we can one or two more additional investors this week."
The question of whether or not another couple investors would be enough to keep the team, will be answered later this week.
But whichever way that decision goes, Siemers says he's still confident that a team can work in West Kelowna.
"I'm confident that with some effort behind it, and copy some of the community teams in the league, such as Merritt and Trail, that use a community based model, and get some funds from the government in the form of gaming grants," he said.
"So I think it really can do a lot of things, we'll put a big push behind a season ticket campaign, I think we'll be successful if the team stays here."
Siemers adds that if the current team leaves, West Kelowna may be able to add another franchise in the future, but that he thinks the best chance of holding onto a Junior A team is to work out a solution to the current scenario.