Coyotes renew lease at Sun Bowl Arena for one year

·2 min read

The Osoyoos Coyotes junior hockey team is set to renew their lease at the Town of Osoyoos’ Sun Bowl Arena, but only for one year as the future remains unclear for the club.

Town of Osoyoos staff negotiated a one-year agreement with Coyotes owner Randy Bedard after the expiration of the former lease agreement. The team has been with the town since the 2010-11 season.

In a normal year the Coyotes would play a 48 to 52-game schedule with half of those played at the town-owned Sun Bowl Arena along with exhibition and playoff games.

It was a tough start to the year with public health orders forcing the Coyotes to question whether there would be a season or team at all. With no fans in the stands due to public health orders and a shortened KIJHL season, it has been a difficult year financially for the club.

Bedard agreed to a rate increase of 18 per cent, roughly $500 per game, for a one-year agreement with the town — with the season only seeing 30 games total, 15 of those on home turf.

Part of the fees include up to 1.5 hours of practice time, five times a week. Any ice time beyond this limit is charged to the team.

“The biggest thing was trying to bring all (Sun Bowl Arena) users into the same type of fee schedule. So we want to make sure we are charging at least what we would charge say minor hockey or figure skating,” said Gerald Davis, director of community services for the Town of Osoyoos at the Nov. 2 regular meeting. “So it is based on that fact, but also to the fact that we don’t have any changes in schedules, we still have X number of staff that’s going to come forward and we do rely on that, that revenue for sure.”

The 2020-21 season will see the Coyotes pay a minimum of $7,500 for the season, and should the Coyotes make the playoffs the fee would increase.

“The Coyotes owner did not feel comfortable signing a lease for longer than one year due to the pandemic and the unknown for future years,” states a town staff report.

Osoyoos town council approved the renewed lease agreement unanimously and will make it official at the Nov. 16 council meeting after providing routine notice to the public.

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle