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BCHL announces schedule for Pod-season

Once the season begins on Apr. 2, 36 of the following 38 days will have BCHL hockey.

The BC Hockey League (BCHL) announced its schedule Tuesday for the 2020-21 season, which includes 20 games per team for a total of 160 league games.

The five-week season will commence on Friday, Apr. 2, and will run until Sunday, May 9.

The 16 teams participating in the season have each been assigned one of five pod locations — Vernon, Penticton, Chilliwack, Coquitlam and Port Alberni — where they will play the other members of that pod for the duration of the year.

The league announced last week that the pods will take place in Port Alberni, Chilliwack, Coquitlam (Burnaby), Penticton, and Vernon.

Cranbrook Bucks, Trail Smoke Eaters and Penticton Vees are scheduled to play at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton Pod.

The other interior teams — Vernon Vipers, Salmon Arm Silverbacks and West Kelowna Warriors — are scheduled for the Vernon Pod at Kal Tire Place

“It has been a long road, but we’re thrilled to finally announce our season schedule,” said BCHL Executive Director Steven Cocker.

 “Our coaches and players have spent the past seven months focusing on on-ice and off-ice development and now we are able to provide them with a chance to play meaningful games to give them the NHL and NCAA exposure they deserve.”

BCHL teams are currently undergoing a quarantine period before they will be tested for COVID-19. Upon receiving a negative test result, players will be free to join their teammates in practice to prepare for the season.

Highlights of the season schedule include:

  • A five-game slate on opening night (Apr. 2).
  • The 2019-20 regular-season champion Coquitlam Express debut against the Surrey Eagles on Apr. 2.
  • Last year’s Interior Division champions the Penticton Vees start their season-opening night against the Trail Smoke Eaters.
  • The reigning Island Division champion Nanaimo Clippers open their season against their rival Victoria Grizzlies on Apr. 3.
  • The most recent Fred Page Cup champions the Prince George Spruce Kings make their season debut against the Chilliwack Chiefs on Apr. 3
  • Once the season begins on Apr. 2, 36 of the following 38 days will have BCHL hockey.

Penticton Vees meet Cranbrook Bucks on April 3 before the Bucks meet the Smokies on April 4.

The season concludes May 8 with Penticton facing Trail.