Osoyoos is known for its sunshine, wineries and boatloads of fun — both on the water and in the mountains and vineyards around it.
But a lesser-known characteristic of the community is the staggering amount of expertise that has made its home here in the form of newcomers, many of whom have made their mark elsewhere and now have settled on Osoyoos to do their settling-down.
Kevin Primeau is such a newcomer — although he’s quick to admit he and his wife, Cindy, “have been coming here for a long, long time.”
The Primeaus have owned and traded real estate in Osoyoos for 25 years. Kevin’s parents retired here 30 years ago and after visiting for several summers he and Cindy began investing in the community.
Edmonton Oilers fans will recall Kevin as an assistant coach with the NHL team through much of the 1990s — working with the likes of Glen Sather, Ted Green and Ron Low.
But Kevin has also played and coached extensively at the highest college and international levels.
His expectation is to contribute to local hockey what being part of 12 championship teams has taught him over a career spanning more than 40 years.
“Obviously the first area that I can volunteer and contribute is in the area of hockey,” he said. “I’ll be helping out the Coyotes. And I met with the president of minor hockey and asked him what their needs were, what programs they felt needed support.”
Kevin says he’s happy to have found a home with the community’s Junior B team in an advisory role.
“The more advanced and smarter the coach, the more eager and willing they are to ask somebody to be involved,” he says. “Ken (Law) is my kind of guy.”
Kevin played with the University of Alberta from 1974–78, winning two University Cups before joining the the Edmonton Oilers and playing in seven WHA games.
He was also an assistant captain of the Canadian team at the 1980 Olympics and did a short stint with the Vancouver Canucks before injuries cut short his playing career.
During that time, real estate and business were hobbies and professional hockey was his career.
Although not retired — Kevin will be selling real estate locally through Re/Max — now real estate will be the exciting new career and hockey will be a fun hobby
He hopes to find the time to bring some of his stories to the community.
And he has good stories to tell, like the one he shares about helping the Great One — and all of his almost-as-great buddies — get into shape.
“I finished playing in 1983 and started a conditioning camp,” he says of his time in the 1980s and 90s. “For 15 years — for the years (the Oilers) were winning their Stanley Cups — I would have those guys preseason.
“The scrimmages at my camps were as entertaining as NHL games. I had Messier, Anderson, Kurri, Gretzky, Coffey. Our goaltenders were Hrudey, Ranford and Cujo — Curtis Joseph.”
Kevin spoke to young students at last week’s Youth Leadership Conference at Spirit Ridge. Now, while his wife helps sell wine at Young & Wyse, he’s looking to help families into homes in the community.
“Real estate has been a hobby,” he says of previous efforts made to help friends into the market. “I’ve been ‘selling it,’ but not getting paid. I’ve always been interested in real estate — I finally decided to make it official.
“It was natural for me to set up here because I know the market so well.”
Kevin’s experience in real estate goes back to his playing days in the late 1970s when he was a member of the Canadian Olympic team and playing hockey in Switzerland.
“When I came back, I had a little bit of money and my friend’s dad was a real estate agent,” he explains. “He gave me some pretty good advice: take half of your money and buy a house; use the other half to have some fun.
“So I bought a house. And then I bought a a Porsche. Ever since then I’ve owned property.”
Kevin makes no apologies about using his hockey reputation in the community — as a real estate agent visibility is everything — but with his connections to both the Edmonton Oilers Alumni Association and Canada’s Olympic Hockey program, he hopes to bring some fun events to Osoyoos and the South Okanagan.
“They’re always looking at things,” he says of both the Oilers and Canada’s Olympic hockey program. “I still get involved in a lot of programs through our alumni associations.”
He’ll also see what else pops onto his horizon.
“I’ve been involved in lots of things beside hockey,” he says. “I owned the highest indoor bungee jump in the world at West Edmonton Mall. I’ve always been interested in businesses — most of them hockey related like the Potential 100 NHL pre-season conditioning camps — but I’ve done other things as well.
“We also had the bungee trampolines and Osoyoos Beach Rentals for many years at the property we own between the Holiday Inn and the Coast Hotels. Our dream is to build a small Boutique Hotel on the property.”
Want to welcome Kevin Primeau to Osoyoos? Chances are — if he’s not busy coaching a client about real estate options at Remax Realty Solutions on Main Street, you’ll find him at the local Arena helping out with the Coyotes or the South Okanagan minor hockey teams.
“We know a few people in the community, friends we’ve made over the years of coming here. But Cindy and I hope to make a lot more friends now that we’re here full-time.
“We have travelled and lived all over the world — from Switzerland and Japan to Hungary, Germany and Italy, and many more places — and we keep coming back to the South Okanagan and Osoyoos. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”