Hockey fans are in for a treat this weekend when the Selkirk College Saints and the Trail Smoke Eaters tangle in a cross-league exhibition home-and-home series that will serve as a warm-up for the 2015-2016 regular season.
Hopefuls looking to the crack the squads for the three-time defending British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) Saints and the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) Smokies will do battle in the third annual Columbia River Cup starting on Friday night at the Castlegar & District Community Complex and then Saturday night at the Cominco Arena in Trail. The puck drops on both games at 7 p.m.
The Selkirk College Saints and Trail Smoke Eaters will engage in the third annual Columbia River Cup this coming weekend with games in Castlegar (Friday) and Trail (Saturday). The puck drops on both exhibition games at 7 p.m.
“We are currently in the midst of training camp and these games will give our coaching staff a good indication of how our preparation for the BCIHL season is coming along,” says new Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “We have a great group of guys this year and it looks as though we will be very competitive once again.”
A Perfect Exhibition Season Match-Up
Last season the two teams split a highly entertaining series with the Saints taking the first game 7-4 and the Smoke Eaters exacting revenge in 5-4 overtime thriller.
Trail is fresh off a split of exhibition games last weekend with the West Kelowna Warriors where they lost 3-2 in overtime and then roared back with a 9-7 victory.
“We are excited to play Selkirk College,” says Smoke Eaters head coach Nick Deschenes. “They have a strong program with players that are older and more physically mature. It will be a good test for our players.”
Ryan Edwards (seen here in action in last year's games against Trail) is one of four current Selkirk College Saints who logged icetime for the Smokies during his junior career.
The weekend series with the Trail will mark a return to Junior A play for a number of Selkirk College players who have graduated to the next stage of their hockey careers. Former Smoke Eaters forward Dallas Calvin completed a successful BCHL career in 2014-2015 where he led Trail in points-per-game with 16 goals and 49 points in 32 games. Calvin joins an explosive Saints offensive unit that includes second-year BCIHL players Ryan Edwards and Jamie Vlanich who spent time with the Smoke Eaters during their junior days. Saints newcomer Nathan Browne also suited up for in 37 games for Trail in the 2013-2014 season.
“Dallas is part of a great group of new recruits who are looking very promising and will compliment a very solid core of returning players,” says Heaven. “We are making every effort to vie for an unprecedented fourth BCIHL title.”
Saints Will Travel to Alberta Capital in Two Weeks
The upcoming weekend set against the Smokies marks the first of seven exhibition games for the Saints. Selkirk will travel to Edmonton on September 18 to 20 for three games against Keyano College, Concordia University and MacEwan University who all play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). Selkirk will wrap up pre-season play with a double header against the University of Victoria on September 25 and 26 at the Nelson & District Community Complex.
Saints forward Tyler Kerner is returning to Selkirk College for his second season of BCIHL hockey.
The Saints regular season home opener—featuring the 2015 championship banner raising ceremony—will take place on October 2 with Trinity Western as the visitor.
General admission tickets for both games this weekend are $5 and will be available at the door.