The Kootenay Ice go toe-to-toe with the Greater Vancouver Canadians this weekend to open its BC Major Midget season. Jim Bailey photo.

Kootenay Ice open BC Major Midget season

The Kootenay Ice face off against the Greater Vancouver Canadians in its first regular season action

The Major Midget Kootenay Ice open its season against the Greater Vancouver Canadians this weekend at the BC Hockey Showcase in Richmond.

After a bye in the first weekend of the BC Hockey Major Midget season last week, the Ice will see its first regular-season action on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Oval in the first of two showcase weekends on this year’s schedule.

All 11 teams will be in action, with the Okanagan Rockets playing a pair of exhibition games against the Everett Jr. Silvertips, while the Ice will play the Silvertips in the second Showcase Jan. 11-13.

Kootenay has been ready and set to go since the end of main camp in August and had an impressive showing in the preseason warmup tournament in Kelowna earlier this month. With a solid core of six returning players including goalie Jake Kemp, coach Kris Boyce says he expects to improve on last year’s success.

“We’ll see what the competition is like this year,” said Boyce. “You always have to set your goals higher. Last year we set our goals to make playoffs and be a .500 hockey team and we did that. This year I want to be in the middle of the playoff pack, so to finish in fourth or fifth is kind of the goal for this year.”

While the team hasn’t seen much action since the preseason tournament two weeks ago, many Ice players have been lacing up the skates as affiliate players for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, including defenceman Kody Stewart who has played in three of the Hawks six games.

The Ice face a Canadians team that swept the South Island Royals in the opening weekend by scores of 5-0 and 5-3. The Canadians, Rockets, Valley West Hawks, and NW Giants all sit at 2-0, while defending champion Cariboo Cougars are 0-2 after suffering a pair of setbacks to the Hawks.

The Ice face off against the Canadians on Saturday at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Oval, while the Sunday match is at 10 a.m.

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