With no fans in the stands, it has been hard on local junior hockey teams. (Western File photo)

With no fans in the stands, it has been hard on local junior hockey teams. (Western File photo)

Pandemic presents unknowns for Okanagan junior hockey teams

With no fans and a shortened season, owners suffer financially

The Osoyoos Coyotes Junior ‘B’ Hockey Club will take to the ice for at least one more season.

The pandemic has thrown all junior hockey teams into a quandary of what to do for income without fans being able to attend any games.

At the last Osoyoos Town meeting, council authorized a one year lease of the Sun Bowl Arena for the purpose of operating the Junior B Hockey team the Osoyoos Coyotes at a rate of $500 per game.

Coyotes owner Randy Bedard did not feel comfortable signing a lease for longer than one year due to the pandemic and the unknown for future years, said Town of Osoyoos staff in their report to council.

READ MORE: Penticton Vees win Okanagan Cup 2020

The Coyotes have played in Osoyoos since the 2010-2011 season. Their season just got underway on Nov. 13 where they took out the Grand Forks Bruins in a 4-1 win. They lost in overtime in their next game.

The club’s current lease agreement for the Sun Bowl Arena expired this month. The Coyotes would normally have a 48 to 52 game schedule for the regular season, with half of those games played at the Sun Bowl Arena. They would also have exhibition and playoff games.

This year with the pandemic, it was a tough start to the season, said Bedard. The Coyotes were unsure if they could put a team together.

With no fans and a shortened season it will be a difficult year financially. The current agreement has the Coyotes paying a $500 fee for the games and as part of that fee, it includes up to 1.5 hours of practice, five times a week.

The most recent fee that was paid by the team prior to the expiration of the agreement was $431.43 per game.

The Coyotes schedule for 2020-2021 has been shortened to 30 games, half of which are home games.



monique.Tamminga@pentictonwesternnews.com

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