West Kelowna  

Celebrating a true Warrior

Alanna Kelly

It was a weekend to remember as residents, NHL Alumni and youngsters celebrated hockey in West Kelowna. 

Rogers Hometown Hockey travelling tour stopped in West Kelowna at Mount Boucherie Community Centre and took over the parking lot for a hockey part, live NHL broadcast and festival. 

Master of Ceremonies Kyle Buttenham said a lot goes into choosing which communities the Canada wide tour stops.

“A lot of it has to do with making sure we are discovering and sharing and celebrating hockey stories across the country,” he said. 

The national broadcast shared a story of Brendan Ritchie on Sunday night during the Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs game, the greatest fan the West Kelowna Warrior team has ever had.

Ritchie was diagnosed with a very rare disease at the age of four and could never play hockey.

“Former Warrior Rylan Yaremko learned of Brendan story and they quickly formed a special bond,” said Ron Maclean during the broadcast.

Ritchie was invited into the locker room and made his way into the heart of the entire organization. 

The Warriors still continue to have Ritchie as part of their tradition. 

“A Warrior is defined as a person who shows great courage and everyone here can tell you, Brendan is the greatest Warrior the club has known,” said MacLean. 

Recently retired from the NHL, Okanagan local Josh Gorges was on site signing autographs and said the event is a great success.

“Just the fact that they asked me to come out and be a part of it is honouring,” he said. “I know if I was a kid and I got to come to an event and meet someone it would be the thrill of a lifetime.” 

Former NHL players came out and played in a celebrity ball hockey game with local firefighters and police officers.

Next up for Rogers Hometown Hockey is Leduc, Alberta and hopefully will be back in the Okanagan Valley next year. 

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