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Warriors 8th Annual Faith Night

Here we go again!  As the season winds up, with 9 regular season games left, the Warriors have clinched a playoff berth.  My goodness, it seems like just yesterday when playoff fever was hitting West Kelowna!  Where has the time gone?  Either time is really passing by that quickly, or that’s just what older people like me say concerning the past…

One of the big dates still left on the Warriors home game calendar takes place on Saturday Night, February 18th.  We will be hosting our 8th Annual Faith Night, when the Warriors host the Victoria Grizzlies.  Victoria is having a strong year, so it will be a great game on the ice, and hopefully off the ice as well. 2017-faith-night

Faith Night is a wonderful and special event that has become a vital part of the Warriors culture.  It is an evening that gives honour and visibility to the greater faith community, where many church groups and pastors gather at Royal LePage Place to cheer on our Warriors.  That is also the night where I am pleased to highlight the Warriors chapel program, which has been running for 11 seasons, since the team came to West Kelowna.  Faith Night is a fun event, where pastors play a little boot hockey during the first intermission and also throw out a bit of swag  into the crowd during the second intermission.  This year we will show a video interview with Coach Ferster and also Captain Nicholas Rutigliano and veteran forward Jared Marino.  During the evening, we’ll welcome each of the church groups to the game and we’ll start the entire event off with Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Youth group combined with their elementary school children’s choir singing the National Anthem.  It will be a great evening; I know that I am really looking forward to it!

God bless you all, and Let’s Go Warriors!

Chaplain Don Richmond




















Chaplain D’s Christmas Wish!

As I am writing this blog, I am looking out from my office window onto Gordon Drive in Kelowna.  The office is warm, but just 3 feet from where I am sitting, it’s freezing!  It’s not only beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it’s also feeling a lot like Christmas!

Just yesterday, I held out last Warriors chapel before the guys head out on their Christmas break.  Between bites of pizza and sips of orange pop, I told of the Christmas story that is found in the New Testament of the Bible.  I did that because many young people simply don’t know about the account; of Mary and Joseph, Angels, Wise Men, shepherds, a jealous King Herod, and of course the baby, Christ the Lord.  We also spoke of great Christmas  traditions; of celebrations and parties, of the best of food and special times with family, of 2016-christmas-hamper-nightfestive décor and delectable special desserts….  Lorraine and I embrace and enjoy all these wonderful things, and yet we have an over-arching umbrella for it all, which is our shared faith in Christ.  For us, that is what makes Christmas, Christmas.

Of course between now and the boys Christmas break, we have a few important games to concentrate on as well as our 6th annual Warriors Christmas Hamper Night.  I am very excited about our Hamper Drive this year, and hope to be able to deliver 60 Christmas Hampers to the Principal of George Pringle Elementary School, to be distributed among George Pringle and other schools, under the direction of the principals.  I will need to raise over $2,000 at Friday’s Hamper Night home game  in order to pay for food that we will be packing into hampers….. so please, I will need your help!

2016-11-22-23-10-11Finally, my  Christmas wish today is that we all would know Peace on Earth in our hearts and homes, and like the Christmas carol ‘Joy to the World’, that every heart would prepare Him room and Heaven and Nature sing.  I pray that you will be encouraged throughout this Season and that you will find yourself serving someone else in some way.

I am so very honoured to serve this West Kelowna Warriors family, not only at Christmas but all throughout the year.  May the Lord bless you and keep you all during this wonderful season.

Have a Wonderful and Merry Christmas,

Chaplain Don and Lorraine Richmond








Parents Weekend

Many of you would know that I travel during the hockey season, visiting various team owners, coaches and chaplains around the hockey world in BC and also speaking to churches and other groups.

And… of all the weekends for me to be away, I picked our Warriors Parents Weekend!  Lorraine and I had a wonderful time on our travels, but I have to admit that I did miss being a part of such a great Warriors family event as Parents Weekend.  It is a wonderful few days of bonding together, a time to get to know and appreciate the parents of our Warriors players, sometimes making connections that last for many years

duboisTo add to the fun, on the ice the boys took 4 points in the two weekend games!  Connor Sodergren had the OT winner on Friday against Vernon and Chase Dubois scored a nifty game winner in the 2nd period against Wenatchee on Saturday.  (Thanks to Ken Reid from Greystoke Photography for this picture.)

Right before we met for a Warriors chapel on Monday, I was pleased to15078956_577052222478041_7490417483116008884_n spend a few minutes with Kyle Marino, the Warriors Captain of last year’s National Champions.  (He is shown here with our Warriors current Captain, Nick Rutigliano.)  It was awesome for me to give Kyle a big old hug and chat for a bit.  It was also good to catch up with Kyle and Jared’s parents, Mel and Lori as well as Connor Sodergren’s parents, Joe and Sharon.

Thank you for taking a minute to read this latest edition of Chaplain’s Talk.  Let me take this moment to let you know that my prayers are with you all, both players and families.

May God bless you and keep you in His love and care,

Chaplain Don






It is difficult to believe, but we are almost a quarter way through this 2016-7 season already!  AND… I think that it is time for a little encouragement!   While is hasn’t been quite the first quarter that we all would have dreamt about, I am encouraged with this Warriors team.  I recall other years when the first part of the season didn’t go all that terribly well, and yet things improved significantly as the season went on.  Personally, I like to be encouraged, for when I am I feel sharp mentally and emotionally.  There is a very good chance that you readers are not all that different that myself in this regard, in that we all fare much better when we are encouraged.  From my viewpoint, encouragement brings stability, confidence and determination to any group.

In our Warriors chapels, I really do try to encourage our players, to let them see a bigger orig-mediaitemid23237-8911[1]picture and to leave our chapel times feeling that there is hope and expectation, both for them personally on and off the ice and also for the team as a whole.  A number of times I have used the verse found in John 16:33, where Jesus stated, “I have said these things that people might have peace, because in this world you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”

Such is the power of Encouragement!  Think about it, just how much better are we all able to handle our life challenges when we feel encouraged?  Now translate that same approach into the life of a young junior hockey player who is most likely living a long way from home.  It is amazing just how much better can they play when they are encouraged, confident and eager.  What a vast difference there is when this great and much celebrated Canadian  game of hockey is a played with joy, without heavy sighs, distractions and burdens associated with it.  I do understand that there are additional resident stresses involved when players leave their minor hockey days and enter junior hockey, but that is where encouragement comes in…. and that is where I want to be.

Thanks for reading my latest Chaplain’s Talk, and God bless you all!

With encouragement,

Chaplain Don




In this edition of Chaplain’s Talk, I thought that I would write a little about what I am convinced is an incredibly important ingredient, yet at times an undervalued part of any successful team; that ingredient being unity.

When I was in grade 7, we had a fun team building day at school. I loved it because we didn’t have to sit in class that day.  We were divided up into groups of 7 and given number of events to compete against the other groups.  One of the many competitions was a tug-of-war.  Our team was certainly not the biggest or heaviest and definitely not the strongest, but we thought that what we would do is learn to pull together on the rope at exactly same time.  As the competition got going, we disciplined ourselves to pull almost like a pulse; we would pull and relax, pull and relax and so on.  What we  found was that instead of all of us pulling randomly at will, that we could achieve victory by our disciplined all-pulling-together strategy.  And it worked!  I think there were many surprised people that day at our school, as we  won the tug-of-war.

As a team chaplain, I have seen the same principle in action with a hockey team on the ice but especially in the dressing room.  When every member of the team learns to pull together without ego getting in the way, the whole becomes much greater than the sum of it’s parts.  Just recently this topic of unity was our main discussion point a Warriors chapel.  I think that this principle of setting aside ego and working in unity really is a game changer.  When you have evenly talented teams playing against each other, I am convinced that unity will find it’s way to the top.  Even after our final chapel prayer, I had quite a few guys chatting with me and signing up for coffee with me….

Finally, I had a great time at the BCHL Showcase this past week watching the Warriors with-trevor-miller-in-the-broadcast-boothcome away with 2 wins; one against Chilliwack and the other against Coquitlam.  (I can’t forget to mention what great games Quinn Foreman had, scoring 5 times in those two Showcase games, with the entire team playing hard and doing well.)  I also want to thank our play by play broadcaster Trevor Miller for welcoming me into the booth to sit beside him and do colour commentary for the two games.

Thanks for reading Chaplain’s Talk, I trust that you will be encouraged by it.

God bless you all, Chaplain Don







Opening Night, Banner Night!

2016-09-09-19-05-31What a great celebration in West Kelowna to start the new BCHL season!  With a wonderful crowd filling Royal LePage Place, the stage was set. Right from the introduction of the new team, the night just kept rolling.  The Triple Crown trophies came out, our RBC shutout winning goaltender Matt Greenfield was introduced along with mighty mites Brendan and Kaylene Ritchie (the heart of Warrior fandom),  and we were off and running!  After Brendan, Kaylene and Matt dropped the official opening faceoff (which by the way was awesome),20160913_171438

I was honoured to sing our National Anthem with Mike Schell’s Uptown Hornz backing me up.  They were just fabulous and I totally enjoyed singing with them playing.  It just seemed like Royal LePage Place was electric that night, with the cheering and the buzz of 20160913_165348the crowd.  I am quite sure that Warrior Nation left the arena on September 9th with a memory that will never be forgotten in West Kelowna history.

As I write this post today, I just finished my first Warriors chapel of the young season, meeting many players for the very first time.  21 young men and myself gathered together and spent about 25 minutes chatting, eating pizza and finishing with a team prayer.  I look forward to a wonderful season of Warriors hockey, including many times meeting with players and fans one-on-one, laughing, lifting and encouraging. Oh and…. I’ll always offer to say a prayer with you, because that’s just who I am.

God bless you all,

Chaplain Don Richmond








2016 Canadian Jr. A Champions!

Yeesssss!!!  2016 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Champions!

How rewarding has this winding Warriors playoff journey been?  Here are a few twists and turns along the way….  After 58 games, this club ended up in second place in the BCHL Interior Division, with 79 points, 22 fewer than the first place Penticton Vees, and third in BCHL points behind Penticton and Chilliwack.  The 2016 playoffs began on March 4th and ended 35 games later on May 22nd.  The Warriors played 93 regular season and playoff games, far more than any other Jr. A club in Canada. (And that does not include exhibition games.)

RBC ChampionsBy the end of this winding road, all the players were sore, bruised and banged up, with a few nursing more serious injuries, one playing the Championship game with a broken hand.  I believe that I head the phrase, “Just tape my hand to my stick and get me out there.”  Now that’s a true Canadian hockey player!

Personally as the Warriors chaplain, I was able to travel with the team for all 27 final days on the road.  We left on April 27th for Estevan, SK and the Western Canada Cup and returned as Canadian Champions from Lloydminster, AB with the Royal Bank Cup late atWith the Triple Crown.jpg night after a 13 hour drive on May 23rd.  During that time, I was pleased to hold a playoff chapel in Estevan and also one in Lloydminster.  All together, we had 15 Warriors chapel sessions this year – 10 during the regular season plus 5 during the playoffs..  I am so honoured and thankful to be trusted to give some guidance and spiritual direction to the players and personnel within this wonderful Warriors club.  I want to take a minute here to thank Mark and Janelle Cheyne and Head Coach Rylan Ferster for setting me free to operate as the team chaplain.

Well, the parade and the initial celebrations are now over…. and I am increasingly aware of how weary I am. (and I am assuming the entire organization is, including our enduring fans…)  It is time to relax for a few moments as the summer rolls into the valley, and enjoy the beautiful place that God has made for us.  It’s flip-flop time…. for beaches, boats, wineries, patios, and the like.

May God richly bless you all as, like the Warriors players, you take a bit of time to relax and rest. May we all realize and appreciate the tremendous times we have experienced together and be truly thankful.  We are family!  And… to the players moving on to college scholarships and other places, may the Lord be your strength. I know that you will always remember that this has been a year that none of us will ever, ever forget!

In Christian Faith,

Chaplain Don











Western Canada Cup Champions!

I am writing this blog post in Saskatoon, SK, as the Western Canada Cup Champion West Kelowna Warriors are slowly making their way to Lloydminster.  Once we arrive there, we will be one of only 5 teams left in Canada, competing to become the 2016 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A hockey Champions.  Pinch me because I think I’m dreaming; no wait….. let me dream for another 12 days!

Since we left Kelowna on April 27th, it’s been quite a long ride….. literally.  After a two day bus marathon, we rolled into Estevan, SK.  The host city and tournament committee did a wonderful job at the Western Canada Cup, and they must be commended for their tremendous efforts.  I must add that the Suburban hotel staff where we stayed were very accommodating (pun intended), and told us at the end of our stay that they were very, very impressed with our team during the tournament.  The front desk manager actually gave a Warriors and hotel staffspeech as we all gathered in the hotel lobby before we left, and commended us on our deportment and respect for the hotel and other hotel guests.  It was quite a warm send-off, which concluded with a group picture of the Warriors, hotel staff and the Western Canada Cup.

After an opening win against the host Estevan Bruins followed by a rough and ‘not so nice’ game against the Brooks Bandits, AB (a loss) the Warriors won the rest of the way, with close wins over the Portage Terriers, (MB) and the Melfort Mustangs. (SK)  This set a up a great Championship game rematch with Brooks.  This time there was no doubt as our boys came away with a convincing 6-0 victory.

Personally, I was honoured to have a chapel with the team in Estevan, my 4th chapel during this long playoff run.  It looks like Warriors chapel number 5 will come in Lloydminster in about a week.  I love getting the boys together to chat about and consider other things than sticks and pucks. I believe that it grounds them and serves them well.

It is such an privilege to be on this amazing trip; the ride of a lifetime.  It is also a privilege to serve, whether it’s driving to Regina a couple of times or to help haul hockey equipment around, I am grateful to be a small part.  I am thankful to the Lord for the ministry that I am involved in, helping to give direction, personal counsel and hopefully wisdom to the people that God brings around me.  I am humbled when I think of the magnitude of that.

God bless you all and thank you for reading my latest Chaplain’s Talk!

Chaplain Don







Banner Hockey; Banner Chapels


“It’s like exploring new territory, experiencing something wonderfully exciting for orig-mediaitemid23237-8911[1]the first time at Royal Lepage Place here in West Kelowna”.  These are some of the thoughts that have drifted through my mind in the last week, when I ponder the fabulous times that we are enjoying in this 2016 BCHL playoff run.

How did we get here?  Well, to me the Warriors epic 2nd round playoff win over Penticton was the stuff of legend.  To win a series against the number 2 ranked team in Canada is a big deal, and to win 4 games in a row in that series was unreal.  That Saturday night game 6 series clinching victory was perhaps that most exciting time I have ever experienced at a Warriors game!  It was an absolutely beautiful madhouse, which in my mind set a new benchmark for passion, intensity and suspense for any Warriors hockey game I’ve ever been at in their 10 year history.

I’ve had many conversations throughout this season with a certain Warriors player (no names…) about the fact that we have no Warriors banners up at RLP, and he assured me that that situation would change before his time as a Warrior came to a close.  And…He was right… And the journey is certainly not over either, as we are now in the middle of an exciting 3rd round of BCHL playoffs.  As we have never been this far down the playoff road in 10 years of West Kelowna Warriors hockey, I have coined a phrase for this time of the year: I am calling it ‘Banner Hockey’.

Since I serve in an ancillary role with the Warriors, one of the wonderful benefits of Banner Hockey is that I get to hold a few more team chapels during this extended season. By the way, pretty much everyone on the team attend chapel (for which I am very thankful) unless that are away or they have another appointment.  So this coming week I’ll hold a ‘banner chapel’, and in between bites of pizza I’ll try to bring a little inner grounding to the guys, speak of big life issues plus have a prayer with them and shake every one of their hands or give them a hug as they leave the room..

These are the times of our lives, to be a small part of something this exciting.  I am grateful for being allowed to be a resource to our Warriors, our fans and staff.  Any while it is true that hockey is a small part of our bigger lives, it is a fabulous part!

May God bless you all, I’m humbled to serve you all.  Let’s go Warriors!

Chaplain Don Richmond





Playoff Time!

With last night’s 6-1 victory over Salmon Arm, the 2015-16 regular season is now in the rear view mirror, and it’s time for the most fun al all…. the playoffs!  I must say that I am so very proud of our team and what they have accomplished. I can honestly say that this group of players has meshed together as well as any team that I have seen.  I have been impressed with how everyone has determined to get on the same page, especially since the Christmas break.

I am enjoying our new Warriors tradition of holding the Awards Ceremony at centre Best D 2016Chaplaincy Program 2016ice immediately following the final regular season home game.  It certainly gives more fans an opportunity to watch the proceedings, rather than asking everyone to attend a separate banquet style occasion.  It was my privilege after the game to present 4 awards: the Humanitarian Award to Rylan Yaremko, the 3 Star Award to Jonathan Desbiens, 3 Stars Awardthe Best Defenceman was split between Rylan Yaremko and Nick Rutigliano, and the Chaplaincy Program Award to Captain Kyle Marino.  Our Captain has been a great encouragement to me in the Chaplaincy Program, and is always ready to encourage all the guys to come out.  We rarely have players miss out on Warriors chapels, and I’m thankful to Kyle for that.  Next week will be our final regularly scheduled Warriors chapel, (I’m hoping to add a few more due to a long playoff run…)   My topic that day will be Unity.  Unity does not necessarily mean Uniformity.  We are not all designed or made to be exactly the same.  We have different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities and different tastes. All those differences are great, and they make us wonderfully diverse.  What brings unity is the absence of selfish motivation and of territorialism.  As the saying goes, “It is absolutely amazing what can be accomplished if we don’t care who gets the credit.”  That is Unity.

As  Christian, I believe that unity is so very important, coming together under a common cause, humbling ourselves to a great task and looking past our own private agendas.  I find that as humans, that is not easy for us to do, in fact it might be one of the most difficult tasks of all.  Personally, I am sure of this; I need the strength of the Lord to make that choice.  It is only then, by that Grace that the whole becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts.  And I believe that is what it takes….. as we come to Playoff Time!!

With great respect, and in faith,

Chaplain D