The BC Hockey League announced its plans for next season.
The league released its 2021-22 schedule June 7 with a return to almost normal, and BCHL teams playing 54 games, slightly less than the 58 games of pre-pandemic times.
Training camps will start later than normal, opening in mid-September rather than late August, with the puck drop for the first regular-season game on Friday, Oct. 8 and playoffs set for a March 25 start.
“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.”
The Trail Smoke Eaters will open their season versus the Cranbrook Bucks in Cranbrook on Oct. 8, and return to Trail the next day for its home opener, Oct. 9.
Trail will kick off the season with 10 games in October, including the BCHL Showcase Oct. 20-24 in Chilliwack where they’ll face the Surrey Eagles and Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Smoke Eaters will play eight games in November, however, they’ll log many miles with a two-game set in Prince George versus the Spruce Kings on Nov. 5 and 6, and then wind up the month with a trip to Vancouver Island, Nov. 19-21, for games vs Coquitlam, Nanaimo, and Powell River.
The Smokies play eight games in December with four of those against the Bucks. Then 10 games in each of January and February, and eight in March with the majority against their conference opponents.
Trail winds up its home regular season against the Merritt Centennials at the Trail Memorial Centre Mar. 16, before travelling to Wenatchee for two games versus the Wild on Mar. 18-19.
The BCHL Road Show is scheduled for Feb. 19-20 with details to follow.
The upcoming schedule will see a return to inter-divisional play, barring any changes in the current B.C. health restrictions.