The West Sound Warriors junior hockey team announced Thursday the team will not be in operation for the 2018-19 season.
West Sound made the announcement via its Facebook and Twitter pages.
It is with a heavy heart that the West Sound Warriors announce that we will not have a Jr. A team on the ice for the 2018 2019 season. We would like to thank all of our fans, volunteers, players and coaches for their dedication and loyalty. We will assess the future in early 2019
— West Sound Warriors (@WarriorsWSHL) May 31, 2018
Bremerton Ice Center general manager Sandy Kolbeins said with the departure of head coach Ty Smith and Chad Olson, it left the franchise seeking its fourth coach in as many years.
“Just sort of tough to sell the idea of starting over again,” Kolbeins said of why the decision was named to cancel the season. “It’s all about recruiting and coaching is where recruiting (starts). We just would be behind the 8-ball the whole way.”
The Warriors finished their first season in the Junior A Western States Hockey League Northwest Division by advancing to the WSHL playoffs and had a 29-21-1 record on the season. West Sound beat the Seattle Totems in 2-0 in a best-of-three first round series, then lost to the Idaho IceCats to 2-0 in the series finish its season.
West Sound had been a part of the Northern Pacific Junior B league since it moved from Tacoma to Bremerton for the 2003-04 season. The Warriors won the NOR-PAC’s Cascade Cup championship, its first, in 2014-15.
Kolbeins said the center’s goal is to focus on the youth hockey association, the West Sound Junior Warriors, as well as encouraging more people to try hockey — including adults.
Kolbeins also said there could be momentum coming with the expected addition of an NHL team in Seattle within the next couple of years.
“There is a lot changing with the NHL coming,” he said.
NOTE: This story was updated from its original version to include comments from BIC general manager Sandy Kolbeins.