They’re here to stay - West Kelowna Warriors play for the fans
Image Credit: West Kelowna Warriors
September 25, 2017 - 12:00 AM
It’s going to be a fan experience not to be missed.
The West Kelowna Warriors Junior A Hockey Club is upping their game to make this season the best fans have seen in the club’s 12-year history.
“Business sponsorship has really increased, season ticket holder sales are up and we just purchased a community Warriors bus. This year is going to be the best fan experience yet,” explained Alex Draper, director of business operations for the club.
He said there are going to be better food vendors at their home arena Royal LePage Place, a V.I.P. section, servers in the stands to eliminate long beer line ups and a video replay system likely to be in place by the end of October.
This season is all about the fans to show how important their support has been; particularly last year when the team was almost sold and moved to Delta after bringing home the 2016 RBC Cup from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan.
“We won the cup in May 2016, and we thought we were going to be gone in November. We’d have been the first team to win a cup at the end of one season, and leave town before the beginning of the next,” described Draper. “One of the highlights of my life was when I got to go on the ice to tell them (the fans) that we were staying. The crowd went nuts. They had tears in their eyes. We’ve had some season ticket holders for 12 years.”
The team was saved due to a number of factors including fan support and owner Mark Cheyne’s belief in the team to back them with additional finances and bring on more corporate sponsorship and participation.
With the District of West Kelowna this year allowing corporate sponsorship throughout the arena, it encouraged further sponsorship from community supporters like Emco Plumbing and Orchard Ford.
Last year’s visit from NHL superstar defenseman Justin Schultz, who brought along the Stanley Cup won by his Pittsburgh Penguins, was a definite highlight for the community as Schultz was a product of the West Kelowna hockey club.
Draper, a former junior goalie, was particularly thrilled to have Schultz pay a visit as he played with Schultz’s dad in the 80s, while Schultz’s mom worked for minor hockey. “It was incredible. There is a real connection to the community,” said Draper.
With the Warriors team in place including their leadership group; Captain Jared Marino and alternate captains Jake Harrison, Stephen Kleysen and Cavin Tilsley, the team, the club and the district are ready for a fast, fun and exciting season.
For information, news and game schedule check out westkelownawarriors.ca. If your group is interested in having the Warriors participate in your next event, contact Draper at email@example.com
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