Under the watchful eye of head coach Mike Vandekamp, Cowichan Valley Capitals hopefuls go through drills during the first on-ice session of the 2019 training camp. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley Capitals open their 2019 training camp

The Caps are back.

The Cowichan Valley Capitals opened their fall training camp on Monday to prepare for the 2019-20 B.C. Hockey League season, with high expectations after last spring’s playoff run.

In their first season under head coach Mike Vandekamp, the Caps sneaked into the postseason as a wildcard, then won a playoff round for the first time since 2007, beating the Penticton Vees, who finished atop the Interior Division, in six games. They then took the Wenatchee Wild to six games before bowing out in the second round.

Camp opened with fitness testing on Monday, followed by the first on-ice sessions at the Cowichan Arena on Tuesday. Capitals hopefuls will be back on the ice Wednesday and Thursday, both days at 9 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.

On Friday, the players in camp will be split into two groups to play the second annual Bill Dellebuur Intersquad Game. The game starts at 6:30 p.m., and admission is by donation, with proceeds going to the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation on behalf of the Dellebuur family.

Exhibition games start on Saturday when the Caps visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Cowichan will play at home next Wednesday (Aug. 28) against the Bulldogs, and Friday (Aug. 30) against the Victoria Grizzlies, with one final exhibition game in Victoria on Saturday, Aug. 31.

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