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Osmonds new owners
The Kerry Park Islanders are under new ownership.
The torch was officially passed from Stew Gordon, who’s also the majority owner of the B.C. Hockey League’s Cowichan Valley Capitals and retains that post, to the husband-and-wife team of Mark and Denika Osmond of Black Swan Pub and Liquor Store fame.
Mark Osmond said he’d entertained thoughts of taking over ownership of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League Islanders for a while.
“Someone planted the seed in my brain at the very start of the season,’’ he said.
One of his sons was with the team for a while and later cut.
But Osmond has been around the rink at Kerry Park frequently over the years through his two sons and one daughter playing hockey and his business supported the Islanders so it seemed a natural fit.
The first order of business for Osmond was to hire a new coach to replace interim coach and minority owner Brad Scafe, who was happy to relinquish the duties to concentrate on his family.
Dale Purinton, who formerly coached the Capitals, will take over the Islanders immediately with Jason Jubenville and businessman Robert Davison, who assisted Osmond in the transaction, as assistant coaches.
Gordon is thrilled to be passing the reins over to Osmond.
“It kind of came up suddenly,’’ said Gordon. “We’ve been talking to Mark for a little bit.’’
The deal was finalized Saturday after the Islanders took a 10-1 drubbing from the powerful Victoria Cougars at home. That followed a 10-0 shellacking from the same Cougars Thursday.
Gordon conceded it’s been tough to devote his time to two hockey teams. He was at the helm of the Islanders for seven years.
“He did a lot for junior hockey in the Cowichan Valley,’’ outgoing assistant coach Wayne McComb said of Gordon.
“He made sure the boys had a place to play hockey in Kerry Park.
“For the Kerry Park team, it’s the end of an era. A lot of people should be appreciative of what Stew did.’’
Gordon said the Islanders will be in good hands with the Osmonds.
“He’s a great guy, a huge community guy,’’ said Gordon.
Osmond fancies himself as more of a soccer guy so he’ll be leaving the operation to the people who know hockey best.
“Me and my wife bought it, not as a business,’’ said Osmond. “We bought it to put back.
“Our main mandate for the team is local kids. We wanted to be a predominantly local flavour team.’’
Osmond is under no illusions of grandeur of taking this investment to the bank.
“I’m not expecting to jump in and make money,’’ he said. “We’re expecting to lose for a year or two.
“If we do happen to make money, our plan is to put that back in for scholarships for kids that are leaving the team.’’
Osmond has lots of other plans and would like to see a better fan base than the 75-25 % split in Victoria’s favour seen at Saturday’s game.
As an icebreaker, Osmond said anyone bringing an unwrapped gift or food item for the food bank to the next home game Dec. 22 will be admitted free.