KIJHL season opener


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League opens its 2022-23 season today with eight matchups.

The Columbia Valley Rockies open at home at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena as one of two earlier games starts to kick off the season. The Rockies begin their season against the team they finished it against last season – the Kimberley Dynamiters. Last season the teams split their eight games and then battled in a six-game, second round series that saw the Dynamiters move on to play the Nelson Leafs in the Kootenay Conference final. This game will also be the debut for new Rockies Head Coach & GM Emery Olauson.

The second game to kick things off has the Golden Rockets hosting the Fernie Ghostriders at the Golden Arena, also known as the The Plywood Palace.” The Rockets won their regular-season series against the Ghostriders last season with five wins in eight games.

The back-to-back KIJHL champion Revelstoke Grizzlies will welcome the 100 Mile House Wranglers to the Revelstoke Forum. The Grizzlies, who also won bronze at the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup, won the regular season series against the Wranglers with five wins in eight games.

The Sicamous Eagles welcome the Chase Heat to the Sicamous & District Recreation Centre. The Eagles won their regular season battle, taking five of the eight games. It will be the Eagles’ first full season under Head Coach & GM Nick Deschenes, who stepped behind the Eagles bench in early January and guided them to the playoffs.

The Nelson Leafs welcome the Princeton Posse to the Nelson Community Complex and it will be Adam DiBella’s debut as the Leafs’ Head Coach, replacing his father Mario. The two teams did not face each other last season as there were no out of conference games. 

The Grand Forks Border Bruins welcome the North Okanagan Knights to the Jack Goddard Memorial Arena. It’s the second full season behind the bench for both Head Coaches (Dave Hnatiuk – Grand Forks) and Liam McOnie (North Okanagan). Neither teams played each other last season.

The Summerland Steam welcome the Kelowna Chiefs to the Summerland Arena. Kelowna took their regular season series with five wins, then the teams met in the Teck Cup playoffs with the Steam winning in five games to advance to the second round. This will be Mark MacMillan’s first full season behind the bench as last season he took over four games in. MacMillan will be joined on the bench by a new assistant in Alyssa MacMillan. You can hear about her addition on Top Shelf – The KIJHL Podcast

The Creston Valley Thunder Cats welcome the Castlegar Rebels to the Johnny Bucyk Arena. It’s the debut of new Thunder Cats Head Coach & GM Brad Tobin, who returns to the organization from the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles. Tobin coached with the Thunder Cats before as an Assistant Coach. The Thunder Cats won their regular season battle last season with the Rebels, taking all three games.

If you can’t make it to the rink to cheer on your team, all games are web streamed live on HockeyTV.