The B.C. Hockey League (BCHL) has announced its schedule for 2021, which will include the Vernon Vipers and 15 other teams playing 20 games; apiece.
The five-week season will commence on Friday, April 2, and will run until Sunday, May 9.
The 16 teams participating in the season have each been assigned one of five pod locations where they will play the other members of that pod for the duration of the year.
Vernon’s Kal Tire Place is one of the five pods, and the Vipers will open April 2 against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The West Kelowna Warriors are the other pod team.
The league announced last week that the pods will take place in Port Alberni, Chilliwack, Coquitlam (Burnaby), Penticton and Vernon.
“It has been a long road, but we’re thrilled to finally announce our season schedule,” said BCHL executive director Steven Cocker. “Our coaches and players have spent the past seven months focusing on on-ice and off-ice development and now we are able to provide them with a chance to play meaningful games to give them the NHL and NCAA exposure they deserve.”
BCHL teams are currently undergoing a quarantine period before they will be tested for COVID-19. Upon receiving a negative test result, players will be free to join their teammates in practice to prepare for the season.
Two teams are not taking part. The only American-based team, the Wenatchee Wild, will not play due to travel and border restrictions.
The Langley Rivermen opted out of the pod format and loaned some of their players to other teams.
The Vipers did not pick up anybody from Langley.
The teams are playing games to showcase their players for college and professional scouts. There will be no playoffs and no fans will be allowed in the pods.
The Prince George Spruce Kings are the last official BCHL Fred Page Cup champions, beating the Vipers in four straight games in the 2019 final.
Once the season begins on April 2, 36 of the following 38 days will have BCHL hockey.
Go to bchl.ca to view the full schedule.