Signs are pointing to a return to normal for the Cowichan Valley Capitals and the BCHL in 2021-22, and the league is feeling confident enough to release a full schedule.
After playing 20 games in the Port Alberni pod, the Caps will get back to a full 54-game slate. The season will begin one month later than it usually does. Cowichan will open at home on Oct. 9, hosting the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
“We are excited to turn the page and get back to competing for a Fred Page Cup in 2021-22,” said BCHL deputy commissioner Steven Cocker. “With our schedule now out, players as well as fans will have the opportunity to look ahead to key dates and get excited for our 60th anniversary season.”
Other key dates include the league-wide opening of training camps Sept. 7, the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack on Oct. 20-24, the BCHL Road Show on Feb. 19-20 and the start of the playoffs on March 25.
The Caps will play their fellow Island teams — Alberni Valley, Victoria, Powell River and Nanaimo — seven times each, and the Lower Mainland clubs — Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack and Coquitlam — four times each. They will play most Interior teams just once each: at home against Penticton, Vernon, Cranbrook and Prince George, and on the road against Wenatchee, Salmon Arm, West Kelowna and Trail.
The Caps’ lone meeting with the Merritt Centennials will take place at the Showcase, where they will also face the Cranbrook Bucks. Each BCHL team plays twice at the Showcase, which attracts scouts from pro teams and NCAA programs.
“We are thrilled to bring our Showcase event back after a year off last year,” Cocker. “Our league is all about exposure and giving our players the chance to show their skills in front of scouts so they can move on to the next level and achieve their hockey goals. Over the years, this event has proven to be a great way to get those conversations started.”
Fans will have the opportunity to attend games under whatever guidelines are in place from the Provincial Health Office at that time.
With files from Kevin Rothbauer, Citizen