Vipers’ BCHL schedule heavy on Friday nighters with 13

The Vernon Vipers better be primed for Friday night hockey next season.

The Vernon Vipers better be primed for Friday night hockey next season.

The Snakes will play 13 of their 28 home B.C. Hockey League games on Friday nights, starting Sept. 11 when they entertain the Trail Smoke Eaters in their season opener.

“Opening night is Sept. 11 but unlike the last three years, the Bauer BCHL Showcase will not be the start of the regular season,” said BCHL media director Brent Mutis.

“There will be two weekends of regular-season games before the Showcase takes place Sept. 24 to 27 in Chilliwack. Each team plays 58 games this season. With the Wenatchee Wild joining the BCHL, there are now 17 teams and there will be 493 total games.”

Vernon will play five home dates on Saturday (special 6:00 starts) and Wednesday nights. They have three Tuesday nighters and two Sunday matinees.

The Vipers face Wenatchee and Cowichan Valley at the showcase at Prospera Centre. Vernon’s first major road trip goes Oct. 2-4 when they battle the Powell River Kings, Nanaimo Clippers and Victoria Grizzlies.

Vernon heads to Port Alberni, Cowichan Valley, and Surrey for games Nov. 6-7-8.

The Vipers finish 2015 with a Sunday afternoon tilt versus Powell River Dec. 20 at Kal Tire Place. Vernon hosts the defending BCHL champion Penticton Vees in a special New Year’s Day Friday contest at 7 p.m.

Again, the league is playing a full interlock schedule, meaning each team will host every other team and also visit every other team. This will be done once each with out-of-division teams while in-division rivals will meet multiple times home and away. The regular season ends Sunday, Feb. 28 with the playoffs starting Friday, March 4.

The 2016 Royal Bank Cup will be hosted May 14-21 by the Alberta-Saskatchewan border town Lloydminster Bobcats.