Warriors power ahead despite financial situation


The owner of the West Kelowna Warriors says negotiating a new lease with the city on Royal Lepage Place was a smooth process.

Mark Cheyne says he's pleased with the roughly $11,000 annual savings in rent, as well as the city's commitment to take over the snack bar.

With the concession, he says past plans of big ticket events that never came to be, made the snack bar unprofitable.

"Why it was so intriguing to have the concession in the first place is that I was told there was going to be multiple functions in there every year, whether it was bands or a curling event, or a wrestling evernt, or something," he said.

"They were supposed to have a whole bunch of events in there, and that's just never materialized."

Despite last year's national championship-winning season, Cheyne says the Warriors lost about $300,000.

He says it really comes down to escalating operating costs with limited ways for the team to bring in extra revenue, and that the news is a shock to many people.

"Oh yeah, it blows people away. And then when you start throwing the numbers around, they're just like, 'are you kidding?'" he said.

"People don't understand how much it costs to run that thing. They can physically see what you drag in for revenue on any given night, but they just don't understand the budget side of it."

Last week, city staff said they were optimistic about Cheyne's desire to be a long-term partner, though the owner confirmed he's been entertaining offers on the team since last year.

However, he says that wasn't a decision that was made because of the financial situation.

"I've had the team up for sale for a year now. And I've been doing this for 30 years," he said.

"I started in '86 in Saskatchewan with it, and me and my wife want to do things in the winter on the weekends. I've drug her there long enough, it's time for us to do some .other things."

Cheyne says he's had a few interested parties contact him, but that if they don't want to keep the team in West Kelowna, he's not interested in selling.