It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on this blog, so there’s a bunch of stuff I really should catch up on.
Welcome to West Kelowna.
It only makes sense to begin with the organization’s rebranding, which became official on Tuesday. At a press conference at RLP, we announced that this team will henceforth be known as the West Kelowna Warriors.
I’m not sure if I should debate this or just let it pass by, but here are some brief thoughts. I know it’s easy for someone like me (who is new to the area) to embrace a change like this. And I know there are some people who have been around for much longer who have other affiliations. I also know there are some people who just don’t like the West Kelowna moniker.
But at the end of the day, our new name was chosen democratically by the people of this community. The Warriors also share a facility with the district of West Kelowna. And after the energy and spirit harnessed by the hockeyville bid, it only makes sense that this team get on board. The name change will also pay big dividends in terms of marketing and recruiting, so I really do hope this community and the BCHL family will support the change. For my part, I’m already slipping into an abbreviation of ‘West K’, and I’m sure that will become a natural fit in the coming years.
The team’s primary logo has been altered to reflect the new name. There are also some new uniforms on the way for next season – but you’ll just have to wait and see for those.
There are a couple of things I should mention in this vein. I’ve already introduced a few future Warriors on this blog, and I’ve already been cornered a few times this summer by passionate fans excited for the coming season. There are still a few more things to announce – including a BIG TRADE just getting completed (stay tuned).
I should make mention of Travis Blanleil’s departure to Penticton. Travis really had a breakout year with WW this past season, and was maybe the one Warrior who really exceeded his expectations for 2011-12. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see ‘Blans’ put up 56+ points this year (including a few highlight reel goals) with the Vees. I guess we’ll just have to hope he doesn’t burn West K too much.
P.S. Did you notice that Seb Lloyd is leading the voting right now in the BCHL’s poll of “Which player will have the biggest points increase over last season?”
Off the ice, the coaching staff will be missing Brandon West this year, after West was hired to be Troy Mick’s assistant in Salmon Arm. After all the red-eyed video sessions Brando put in this year, I would imagine his hourly wage probably worked out to about 21 cents per. But Rylan Ferster will be the first to tell you how valuable a teammate he was. It’s no secret that West has a bright future ahead of him as a coach – so I know everyone joins me in wishing him well.
As for a new assistant for the Warriors – I don’t have any official word just yet.
Rylan Ferster himself continued to build his resume this summer, as he led a group of players at an invitational tourney in Sweden. His team included a few guys who will play here next year, which is awesome for these players and this team. But even Rylan admitted it was also good for him. “Anytime you get to go overseas it’s a great experience” he told me the other day. Ferster hit up a bunch of games and seminars, and also said he spent a lot of time with Sweden’s gold-medal winning junior coach (Roger Rönnberg). We can only hope that they need a radio guy next time…
Blue Chip alumnus:
I was on a mountaintop in the Rockies on that day, but even I heard the cheers (and no doubt, some sighs) when Justin Schultz signed with the Edmonton Oilers a week ago.
It was pretty surreal watching the national media suddenly consumed with his future, and great for the Warriors organization and the BCHL. Having grown up as an oilers fan, I was admittedly happy with the decision. But more than anything I just think it’ll be awesome watching Justin make his NHL debut, and watching that promising future become a reality. Schultz has already made us very proud, and the most important thing to say for now is simply ‘congratulations Justin, and continued good luck.’
Of course, I should also fire out congrats to Adam Plant. Plant was a ‘super-sub’ last year, and equipped himself so well as an AP that his spot on this year’s team was assured. But Adam also committed to Harvard University for 2014-15 recently, which is terrific news. Harvard, as you all know, is not your average school – so well done ‘Planty’ on this commitment. And don’t worry folks, it sounds like he’ll be around to patrol the West K. blue-line for the next couple of years before heading off to join the Crimson.
I’m sorry for posting such a mouthful at once, but I’ve been away more than I’ve been home lately.
As far as the 2012-13 schedule goes, I understand it’s being published as we speak. We already knew about the showcase in Chilliwack to start the season. We also now know West Kelowna’s home opener will be Sept. 14th vs. Penticton. And generally speaking, lots of weekend games and less travel should help make this a great season. Stay tuned to the BCHL and Warriors websites for that.
And so long for now…