Kootenay Ice finds buyer who will keep team in Cranbrook, B.C.

The Kootenay Ice are staying in the Kootenays.

After years of uncertainty about its future, the Western Hockey League team has found new owners who plan to keep the franchise in Cranbrook, B.C.,

The Kootenay Ice have been sold to Winnipeg entrepreneur Greg Fettes and hockey executive Matt Cockell, the team announced Tuesday.

Cockell plans to move to Cranbrook and is slated to become the club's new president and general manager. He is is a former vice-president with True North Sports and Entertainment, the company that runs the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.

"Our family is looking forward to becoming an active community member, and we are excited to engage directly with some of the greatest fans in the entire Western Hockey League," he said in a statement.

The sale is conditional upon the approval of the WHL Board of Governors, which will hold a special meeting on April 27 to review the new ownership application.

Citing dwindling attendance and mounting losses, current owner Jeff Chynoweth has been trying to sell the team since 2012.

Last month, he told CBC he was in discussions to move the team to Nanaimo.

But that possibility fell through when residents of Nanaimo voted against building an $80-million events centre.