The start of the BCHL season is days away and the West Kelowna Warriors are in disarray.
Kim Dobranski took over as the junior A club's new owner in early August and there’s been a whirlwind of activity since.
In addition to long-time, national championship-winning coach Rylan Ferster leaving the team, the Warriors also replaced a number of other personnel.
From the team’s broadcaster to trainers to coaches, no job was safe as the summer came to a close and the players got back on the ice.
Hired to replace Ferster on Aug. 21 was Geoff Grimwood, but reports surfaced on Monday night that the Warriors had relieved Grimwood of his short-lived duties.
Am told that BCHL's West Kelowna Warriors today are going through their second coaching change since Aug. 21. This time, Geoff Grimwood is out. He had been interim since Rylan Ferster left.— Gregg Drinnan (@gdrinnan) September 4, 2018
That was reported by hockey writer Gregg Drinnan, who pegged Jason Beckett as the team’s new coach.
It was never officially announced, but word certainly got out to the players, who left practice on Tuesday and took to Twitter to protest the firing with the hashtag #grimmergate.
Those same players were once again absent from practice on Wednesday, instead choosing to take a hike.
Fair to say the West Kelowna Warriors players are not happy with their team owner's sudden firing of head coach Geoff Grimwood. Haven't seen open revolt by players in junior hockey since the Flint Firebirds of the OHL, which was a very similar scenario. #BCHL pic.twitter.com/ipsm0YMcpw— Tyler King (@tyler_king) September 5, 2018
A photo of the players on that hike was posted to Twitter by Cavin Tilsley, one of the team’s 20-year-old leaders, with the caption, “Together we stand. #grimmergate.”
Now, it’s all seemingly come to a boiling point as Drinnan reports that the BCHL has stepped in and taken operation of the Warriors.
Grimwood has been reinstated as the team’s head coach and Dobranski, who took to Facebook to rant about the situation on Wednesday, has scheduled a press conference for Thursday morning.
NowMedia will continue to update this story as more information is made available, but as we inch closer and closer to hockey season, there's no doubt the 2016 RBC Cup champions need to sort this all out.