So much so that the Mill Bay resident and Shawnigan businessman and his wife Denika, who are involved in the Black Swan Pub and Liquor Store, recently purchased the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League’s Kerry Park Islanders from Stu Gordon, Brad Scafe and Geoff Pears.
“I’m a soccer payer, not a hockey player. If you would have told me when I first came to this country in 1981 that I would own a hockey team 30 years down the road, I would have laughed at you,” said the Southampton, England, native. “A soccer team, maybe, not a hockey team.”
The Osmonds, who have three children with two still in the sport, wasted little time in making the deal.
“We’ve been around the rink a long time. We’ve watched Junior B a lot since we’ve been out here,” said Osmond. “We noticed things weren’t too good for them so I phoned Stu Gordon up one day and said, ‘;Would you like to sell the team?’
“He said, ‘;Sure, I think I would,’ ” Osmond said of Gordon, who also owns part of the Cowichan Valley Capitals and other business interests. “I have the time to do it now, where my wife and I can make it work and get it back on track. It’s a good bunch of boys.”
The Islanders, mired in last place in the South Division at 2-25-2-6, went through an extensive change in the off-season as Gordon had released or traded upwards of seven players to the expansion Westshore Wolves because they were Langford-area kids.
The Islanders actually play host to the Wolves tonight at 7:30 p.m., the third game under the new ownership.
“Yeah, they’re sort of like the Kerry Park B team,” Osmond said with a chuckle. “But we’re trying to make it a fun place to come. My wife and I will try, once we get some money rolling in, to put money back in for scholarships.
“We didn’t buy it to make money. Our ultimate goal is to put any profits, after expenses are covered, into scholarships toward school.”
Osmond brought former Cowichan Valley Capitals coach and rugged National Hockey Leaguer Dale Purinton in as his head coach and together they will grow.
“Dale agreed to come on board,” said Osmond. “He’s a great guy. He’s great with the kids, talks to them on their level and he expects a lot and he commands their respect.”
The team is currently on a 12-game losing skid and obviously looking ahead to next season, while improving the product for the remainder of the 2012-13 campaign.
“It’s a young team, but we’ve got a good coach in now, with solid systems,” said Osmond. “They needed a bit of structure. We’re running it as professional as we can and hopefully it rubs off on them.
“We don’t lose any players next year, which is a great thing. Apart from a couple of 20-year-olds we’ll have to release because we can only have six. But it will be exciting.”
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