The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League begins its 2023-24 regular season, the first under the Junior A Tier 2 designation, with eight games today.
Among the first two games at 7 p.m. MDT has the Spokane Braves playing for the first time in three seasons, as they visit the Columbia Valley Rockies at the Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena. The Rockies are the defending Eddie Mountain division regular-season champs and have Tayler Sincennes making his debut as Head Coach. Darin Schumacher will finally get to make his debut on the Braves bench after being hired in 2020. Kobe Mason had 22 points in 30 games for the Rockies last season.
The second game at 7 p.m. MDT, features the defending KIJHL Teck Cup champion Kimberley Dynamiters hosting the Osoyoos Coyotes at the Kimberley Civic Centre. The Dynamiters are 2-0 in their last two games against the Coyotes. Kade Leskosky had 40 points in 40 games for the Dynamiters last season.
The Golden Rockets are hosting the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference champion Princeton Posse at the Golden Arena at 7:30 p.m. MDT. The Rockets are 1-1 in their last two games against the Posse. Liam Furlong had 31 points in 41 games for the Rockets last season.
The Nelson Leafs are hosting the Cyclone Taylor Cup-champion Revelstoke Grizzlies at the Nelson Community Complex at 7 p.m. PST. Briar McNaney begins his first full season on the Leafs bench. In their last two games, the Grizzlies won both. Seamus Boyd had 31 points in 40 games for the Leafs last season.
The 100 Mile House Wranglers begin their 10th anniversary season in the league hosting the Creston Valley Thunder Cats at the South Cariboo Rec Center at 7 p.m. The Thunder Cats have two wins in their last two games against the Wranglers. Nathan Bohmer led the Wranglers in points last season with 41 in 38 games.
The Sicamous Eagles welcome the Kelowna Chiefs to the Sicamous & District Recreation Centre for a 7 p.m. start. In their last six games, the Chiefs are 4-2-0 against the Eagles. Warren Roberts-Lee had 16 points in 18 games last season to lead the Eagles with .89 points per game.
The North Okanagan Knights welcome the Castlegar Rebels to the Armstrong Nor-Val Centre for a 7:15 p.m. start. Nick Headrick starts his first full season on the Rebels bench. The Knights have won both of their last two games against the Rebels. Frasier O’Brien had 20 points in 44 games for the Knights last season.
The final game of the season-opener has the Summerland Steam hosting the Grand Forks Border Bruins at the Summerland Arena at 7:30 p.m.. The two teams split their last two games. Morten Kjolby makes his head coaching debut for the Steam with assistant coaches John DePourcq and Everett Scherger. Kjolby’s coaching resume includes a season in the Canadian American Junior Hockey League, as well as in Denmark, Sweden and Spain at the U18 and U20 levels. Cassidy Hank had 12 points in 34 games for the Steam last season.
If you can’t make it to the rink to cheer on your team, all games are web streamed on FloHockey, which currently has a deal on subscriptions for $199, a 15% discount off the regular price.