The Vernon Vipers will play a 12-game exhibition schedule leading up to the start of the B.C. Hockey League’s regular season in early December.
The Vipers will play four games each, in home-and-home weekends, against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, West Kelowna Warriors and Penticton Vees, starting with the Warriors Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and 26. The two teams are slated to play at Kal Tire Place Saturday, Sept. 26.
“We are excited to see these game announced,” said Vipers’ executive vice-president Todd Miller. “We continue to work within the guidelines put forward by the Provincial Health Office to ensure these games are played.”
The guidelines, however, means fans will have to get the game results online. No fans are being allowed into the arenas under the provincial COVID-19 regulations.
“We believe it’s important to have our players playing meaningful games during this extended period before the start of our regular season, in order to stay engaged and game-ready leading into December,” said BCHL executive director Steven Cocker. “Our teams are working within the guidelines to provide our players with a high level of development on and off the ice.”
With the extended training camp, the exhibition season will be significantly expanded compared to years past, with more than 100 games scheduled across the league. Some teams will start play as early as Sep. 25, while others will delay until October and November, depending on their training camp model.
The league announced in July that the regular-season would be delayed until December due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Vipers and Warriors will conclude their pre-season meetings with one another Oct. 23 (Kal Tire Place) and 24 (Royal Lepage Place).
Vernon and Penticton will play a home-and home Friday and Saturday Oct. 9 and 10, starting at the South Okanagan Events Centre. The two clubs will face each other again Nov. 6 (Vernon) and 7 (Penticton).
The Salmon Arm Silverbacks will visit Kal Tire Place Friday, Oct. 16 and Saturday, Oct. 31. Vernon returns the visits to the Shaw Centre Saturday, Oct. 17 and Friday, Oct. 30.