As the summer heat subsides the fall and winter Heat hit the ice. The annual goal of all goals is to get to spring heat (playoffs). It’s a long way off, however time flies and early season points accumulated against Division rivals are huge in the end. This isn’t a normal start to one of these scribbles, must be frustration due to an inability to find a pencil with any lead in it?
The HEAT played a 4 game exhibition schedule to help discover who belongs or doesn’t, who may stick and who will remain under the microscope. They then opened the regular season this past weekend and who belongs and who sticks must still be rolling around in the minds of the team decision makers. Friday night the 23rd of September found the boys trundling down Highway 1 to the eastern Shuswap outpost of Sicamous. The EAGLES perched patiently awaiting the incoming prey from the western Shuswap outpost of the KIJHL. Out shot 31 to 24 the Chase crew were outscored 4-1 in 60 minutes of action. The lone HEAT tally in the latter part of the 2nd period came from rookie Kieran Armitage with help from veteran Aidan Brown and rookie Jalen Davidson. Definitely not the season start staff, players, volunteers, parents and fans were expecting.
So, Day 2 and the home opener at the Art Holding Memorial Arena, Saturday the 24th of September. In front of a packed barn thanks to a clever idea or two from some volunteers full of ideas, a flashy new format program, long lineups at the Chilli Areena Cantina, splashed suds at the Red Solo Cup Emporium, everything was lined up for a splendid evening of shinny. Except the Heat were once again the second best team on the ice falling 4-1 to the Kamloops Storm. The local sole counter coming from rookie Jalen Davidson with assists from rookie Cale Nahorney and veteran Braeden Huth. Its real early in the season so let’s hope our boys don’t like the view from the basement.
The team has 11 veterans back, 4 of them 20 “bombs” in their final year of junior hockey. That leaves 14 spots on the roster for a very skilled and interesting bunch of rookies. Extensive scouting was done in Alberta and the number of those province’s licence plates around town is an indication. The focus off ice is community involvement and a few events are already accomplished; Terry Fox Run, selling papers in support of Literacy Day as well as coaching local minor hockey teams. A shout out to those homes who have opened their doors as billet families.
Next up on the schedule is a road trip to the East Kootenays to face the Kimberley Dynamiters on Friday the 30th, followed by the Columbia Valley Rockies in Invermere on Saturday October 1st. As a fan you can catch all KIJHL games at www.hockeytv.com. Next home game is Friday the 7th of October at 7:00 pm. See you there rocking the plastic bum bruisers with your new neighbours and friends.