Junior Hockey: Season Opening Weekend for WHL, BCHL, KIJHL – Okanagan


Looking for something to do this weekend? If watching live sports is in your wheelhouse, catching a junior hockey game is an option.

The Western Hockey League, BC Hockey League and Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will all host their season openers this Friday and Saturday.

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The Kelowna Rockets will begin their 2022-23 season on Saturday, when they host the Portland Winterhawks at Prospera Place.

This game will be Kelowna’s only game of the weekend, as their next games won’t be until September 30 and October 1, when they travel to Prince George for a doubleheader against the Cougars.

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For Portland, Saturday’s game will be their second in two nights, as they open on the road in Kamloops against the Blazers, who host the 2023 Memorial Cup next spring.

During preseason play, Kelowna went 3-1-1, while Kamloops went 1-4. Portland was 0-3-2-0.

However, before you read the tea leaves, pre-season records in junior hockey are sometimes meaningless, as teams can be heavily impacted by the number of players missing to attend NHL training camps.


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Winnipeggers react to Jets jersey ads


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Saturday’s game will also be the third time Kelowna has hosted Portland in its season opener. The last time was 20 years ago, however, on September 20, 2002, when the Winterhawks won 3-2.

In that game, former Rocket defenseman Richie Regehr assisted on the game-winning goal 14:34 into the second period as Portland rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat Kelowna.

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That season, with Duncan Keith and Shea Weber on defense, Kelowna had a fantastic season, as the Rockets posted a 51-14-1-0 record and 109 points en route to winning their first WHL championship. .

Going forward, one of the biggest games on Kelowna’s home schedule will be on Tuesday, Nov. 29, when the Rockets host Connor Bedard and the Regina Pats.

Bedard, a five-foot-nine center from North Vancouver, is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL Draft next year.


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Friday games (every hour PT)

  • Red Deer at Edmonton, 6 p.m.
  • Saskatoon at Prince Albert, 6 p.m.
  • Moose Jaw at Regina, 6 p.m.
  • Calgary at Swift Current, 6 p.m.
  • Portland at Kamloops, 7 p.m.
  • Tri-City at Prince George, 7 p.m.
  • Spokane at Victoria, 7:05 p.m.
  • Seattle at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday matches

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  • Winnipeg at Brandon, 5 p.m.
  • Swift Current at Calgary, 6 p.m.
  • Lethbridge at Medicine Hat, 6 p.m.
  • Regina at Moose Jaw, 6 p.m.
  • Tri-City at Prince George, 6 p.m.
  • Edmonton at Red Deer, 6 p.m.
  • Prince Albert at Saskatoon, 6 p.m.
  • Spokane at Victoria, 6:05 p.m.
  • Vancouver at Everett, 6:05 p.m.
  • Portland at Kelowna, 7:05 p.m.

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This weekend, all four BCHL teams in the region will be in action on Friday night.

Defending league champion Penticton Vees will open at home hosting the Trail Smoke Eaters.

The West Kelowna Warriors will start on the road, as they visit Duncan on Vancouver Island to take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

The final two teams in the region will face off, with the Vernon Vipers visiting the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

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On Saturday, all four teams will return to the ice, with Penticton hosting Cranbrook, West Kelowna at Victoria and Salmon Arm visiting Vernon.

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Friday matches

  • Prince George at Coquitlam, 7 p.m.
  • West Kelowna at Cowichan Valley, 7 p.m.
  • Cranbrook at Merritt, 7 p.m.
  • Trail at Penticton, 7 p.m.
  • Nanaimo at Powell River, 7 p.m.
  • Vernon at Salmon Arm, 7 p.m.
  • Alberni Valley to Victoria, 7 p.m.
  • Wenatchee at Surrey, 7 p.m.
  • Chilliwack at Langley, 7:15 p.m.

Saturday matches

  • Nanaimo at Powell River, 5 p.m.
  • Cranbrook at Penticton, 6 p.m.
  • Salmon Arm at Vernon, 6 p.m.
  • Alberni Valley at Cowichan Valley, 7 p.m.
  • Trail at Merritt, 7 p.m.
  • West Kelowna at Victoria, 7 p.m.
  • Prince George at Langley, 7:15 p.m.

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Huberdeau and Kadri participate in the 1st training camp with the Calgary Flames


Huberdeau and Kadri participate in the 1st training camp with the Calgary Flames

Friday matches

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  • Kimberley at Columbia Valley, 6:30 p.m.
  • Closed at Golden, 6:30 p.m.
  • North Okanagan at Grand Forks, 7 p.m.
  • Princeton at Nelson, 7 p.m.
  • 100 Mile House in Revelstoke, 7 p.m.
  • Chase at Sicamous, 7 p.m.
  • Castlegar at Creston Valley, 7:30 p.m.
  • Kelowna at Summerland, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday matches

  • Creston Valley at Kimberley, 6 p.m.
  • Columbia Valley to Fernie, 6:30 p.m.
  • Revelstoke at Golden, 6:30 p.m.
  • Osoyoos at Beaver Valley, 7 p.m.
  • Princeton at Castlegar, 7 p.m.
  • Nelson at Grand Forks, 7 p.m.
  • Summerland at Kelowna, 7 p.m.
  • Kamloops at Chase, 7 p.m.
  • 100 Mile House at Sicamous, 7 p.m.

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Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness on the upcoming season


Winnipeg Jets head coach Rick Bowness on the upcoming season

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