Okanagan College Coyotes cease operations following budget shortfall
Thursday, August 2, 2012 - Submitted by BCIHL Media
The Okanagan College Coyotes men’s hockey program has notified the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League that the team is ceasing operations, effective immediately, following a recent budget shortfall.
The BCIHL will operate with six teams for the 2012/13 season with each team continuing to play 24 regular season games. The 2012/13 season schedule will be released today.
"Okanagan College was a valued and competitive member of the BCIHL and will be missed greatly," says league president Kim Verigin. "They put forward a very competitive team right from their first season. It will be a big change for the league and it's very unfortunate these things happen in the hockey business. It's important to recognize the team management, particularly general manager Kolby Barnstable and head coach Kim Barnstable, for their hard work and dedication over the past three seasons."
The Coyotes entered the BCIHL in 2009 and compiled a record of 40-25-9 during regular season play. The team qualified for the playoffs each of their three seasons, advancing to the league semi-finals twice in three years.
"It’s very disappointing to see the Coyotes program come to an end after three successful seasons," says General Manager Kolby Barnstable. "A great amount of time and effort was invested in the start-up and growth of this team. This was extremely tough news to deliver to our players. Everyone that was involved had a passion and believed in the value of this program."
Okanagan College players collected a number of individual awards and honors over the past three years and recently saw their first player – 2011/12 team captain Dave Mann – sign a professional contract.
"I’m very disappointed to see this program come to an end," says head coach Kim Barnstable, who was named the 2012 BCIHL Coach of the Year.
"I feel strongly that there is a need for this type of collegiate team in the Okanagan. It fills a void for hockey players making the transition into academics and life in the community and I’m upset for the current and future players who will no longer have an opportunity to experience this in Kelowna."
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