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BEDARD THRILLED TO TAKE OVER SOLE OWNERSHIP OF OSOYOOS COYOTES HOCKEY CLUB
The Osoyoos Coyotes hockey club is going to remain a huge part of this community for many years to come, says Randy Bedard, who has officially announced he’s the sole owner of the hockey club after finalizing a deal with longtime partner John Kapusty last week.
“I love Osoyoos and I’m committed to this community and this organization and I look forward to a long and productive relationship with this community for many years to come,” said Bedard, who purchased the hockey club with Kapusty and Roy Schultz in 2010.
Bedard bought out Schultz’s share in the hockey club last November and finalized a deal with Kapusty to take over sole ownership after discussing the idea for the past several weeks.
“We’ve been talking about it since the end of the season,” said Bedard, who first moved to Osoyoos from Ontario almost 20 years ago. “John and I talked about a lot of things and it eventually made a lot of sense to both of us to have solid local ownership.”
Kapusty and Schultz were both excellent to work with and helped turned the Coyotes into a Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) powerhouse their first two years in the league, but it was difficult for Kapusty to dedicate himself to the hockey club living and working in Penticton, said Bedard.
“The idea of me taking over the ownership of the Coyotes presented itself as the right thing to do and I can’t tell you how excited I am about it,” he said. “I’ve had a great time working with John and Roy and it was a great partnership, but I’m really looking forward to taking on this venture.
“I live and breath Osoyoos and I know how much support there is in the community for this hockey club, so it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Winning the league KIJHL championship during the Coyotes inaugural season and following that up with the Okanagan Division regular season title this past year convinced him there’s a very bright future for this organization in this community, said Bedard.
There have been various incarnations of junior hockey in Osoyoos dating back 20 years as various owners have come and gone, but he’s committed to providing stable, long-term ownership, he said.
“I feel I have a great working relationship with the corporate sponsors in the community and our regular fans,” he said. “I feel we have a very strong core of support and that it’s viable to have a hockey club in this town and have it prosper and succeed on and off the ice.”
Head coach and general manager Ken Law and assistant coaches Greig Thomas and Craig Lewis will all be retained for the coming 2012-13 season and he’s hopeful to have a new long-term deal signed with Law in the next few weeks, said Bedard.
“Ken has expressed how happy he is on the job and he still wants to be here and we want to have him back,” he said. “Ken is well respected in the community and I know the players enjoy playing for him.
“We had a phenomenal first year and managed to win a league championship and had another great regular season this past year, before running into a red-hot Kelowna club in the first round of the playoffs. But the standard of excellence has already been set by Ken and his staff and I really look forward to continue working with them.”
Bedard, who recently turned 50, said he became passionate about living and working in Osoyoos when he first moved here almost 20 years ago as a broadcaster.
Leaving Osoyoos back in 2001 to pursue other business and broadcasting opportunities seemed like a good idea at the time, but turned out to be a mistake, he said.
“My heart never left Osoyoos and I truly did miss it,” he said. “I will admit that leaving the first time back in 2001 was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I went on a few adventures and had some success in broadcasting and in hockey, but I really did miss Osoyoos.
“When I returned back in 2009, the community accepted me with open arms and it was like I had never left. I knew then that I wouldn’t be leaving again. This is my home and this is where I want to be. It’s the best place to live in Canada and it’s a town full of wonderful people, so there’s no place I would rather be.”
The Coyotes have a decent nucleus of returning players and some outstanding young players attended the recent spring prospects camp at the Sun Bowl Arena, so Bedard believes the club can remain a contender.
With the Coyotes averaging more close to 400 fans per game and the strong corporate sponsorship for the hockey club, Bedard said the Coyotes have one of the best franchises in the KIJHL and he’s going to work hard to ensure that remains the case for many years to come.