Warriors coach reinstated

Madison Erhardt

The latest chapter in ongoing drama surrounding the BCHL's West Kelowna Warriors was written Thursday morning.

Geoff Grimwood, who was fired as interim head coach Monday night, was reinstated as the team's full-time head coach.

Monday's firing of Grimwood and assistant Matt Miller precipitated a revolt by players, who walked out partway through practice Tuesday and didn't show up for practice Wednesday.

Players took to the Twitter handle #grimmergate to voice their frustration and demand the return of their coach.

Castanet has learned new BCHL commissioner Chris Hebb was in West Kelowna Wednesday evening to help iron out the situation.

At a news conference Thursday morning, new team owner Kim Dobranski hinted at some involvement from the league level, saying teams have "graciously offered up whatever assistance we deem necessary to assist, and guide us as we continue to transition this franchise to a new ownership group and new future.

"We are happy to draw upon them for their advice and wisdom."

How far that assistance goes was not made clear. The league is expected to issue a news release later today.

As for Grimwood, Dobranski said in his haste to make changes after taking over the franchise in early August, he failed to consider "what was best for the players."

"I failed both as a partner in this league, and as the leader of this organization, to consider the emotional turmoil this could cause for these young men," he said from a prepared statement.

Grimwood said it's important that everybody is on the same page, and believes that has happened through the work of Dobranski, the league and himself.

"The most important thing we've realized here is we have 23 very, very committed players who are committed to being West Kelowna Warriors," said Grimwood. "My goal and Kim's goal is to go forward, giving them the best opportunity to have a very successful season, enjoy their time in the BC Hockey League."

What's done is done, he said. "We're looking forward, and we're very excited for the season."

Dobranski refused to answer questions, saying he wants to move forward and prepare for a busy season-opening weekend.

The Warriors open the regular season in Trail Friday night before hosting the Smoke Eaters Saturday at Royal LePage Place.

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