Storm forecast --- cloudy!

By Earl Seitz / Chad Klassen
March 2, 2018 - 4:01pm Updated: March 2, 2018 - 5:57pm

KAMLOOPS --- When the Storm played out of the McArthur Island Olympic rink, the stands were full for most of their playoff games.

In a game this week, with the Storm facing elimination, the stands were nearly empty at Memorial Arena.

"It's disappointing when you look in the crowd and there's probably 100 paid people , if that." says Storm owner and general manager Barry Dewar. "It's really disappointing --- I don't know the future.  I've tried everything.  We do social media, we have thousands of people follow us on facebook, and nobody comes to watch the game, so I don't know the answer."

Dewar says maybe it's time for different eyes and different people to think different things and to try to get people in the building.    He says he's also getting to the age where he's looking for someone else to take over.

Dewar says there is a group that's made an offer --- and they want to move the team.   He did'nt name the group, but the Storm did play six of their regular season games this season in Quesnel, which has twice been turned down for an expansion franchise.

"You know all the rumours that are flying around about the team re-locating and moving to Quesnel --- do I think we should have a team in Quesnel?  Yes.  Do I think it should be my team?  No." says Dewar.

There has also been interest in the Storm from Kamloops Minor Hockey.   But Dewar doesn't see that as a business model that will work for the objectives of the Storm and the league (KIJHL).

"If you look at our team right now, we've put half a dozen players in the last couple of years into the Western Hockey League.   I don't know if Kamloops Minor Hockey would have that same vision --- moving players on."

Barry Dewar estimates the annual budget to operate the Storm is in the area of $250,000 --- and with fewer than 200 people in the building on a nightly basis, the math doesn't add up.     Dewar, his wife Sandy and head coach Ed Patterson have put their hearts and souls into trying to make it work.

"It's hard to keep the program running when there's not the local support.   I mean nobody blames them." says Ed Patterson. "Everybody has families, the Blazers are the number one ticket and there's TRU sports and you name it.   It's a hard market to be in."

There will be changes with the Storm next season.   One of those will likely be behind the bench.

"I would like to move on." says Patterson.   "I think I've paid my dues as a head coach at this level, and shown I can develop kids.   Lot's of guys have gone to the Western League and junior A.   I think our team has done more development on a yearly basis than most teams do in three or four.    So it's my time to move on.    Find a real job or get myself a better coaching job." 

Storm season ends with double OT loss to Revelstoke