New additions to the West Kelowna Warriors blueline this season are Isaiah Norln (right) and Zachary Reim. (Contributed)

West Kelowna Warriors vs. Salmon Arm Silverbacks for BCHL home opener

West Kelowna and Salmon Arm clash at Royal LePage Arena Friday night for home-and-home games

With the COVID pandemic still hanging over B.C. Hockey League arenas, the West Kelowna Warriors will begin the team’s 2021-22 regular season this weekend with a home-and-home set against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

The Warriors play host to the Silverbacks at Royal LePage Arena tonight (Sept. 24) at 7 p.m., and visit Salmon Arm for the second game between the two division rivals on Saturday (Sept. 25), 6 p.m.

On the eve of the Warriors home opener, the club also announced the acquisition of two new recruits, defencemen Isaiah Norlin and Zach Reim.

Isaiah Norlin, a Minneapolis, Min., native tallied six goals and 21 assists in 19 games with Gentry Academy (USHS-MN) last season, second on the team in scoring for defencemen.

He is the younger brother of Warriors alumnus Bennett Norlin, who spent two seasons with the Warriors from 2017-2019.

Bennett is entering his third year with Air Force Academy (NCAA).

Zach Reim also hails from the Minnesota community of North Oaks, a teammate of Norlin’s last season with Gentry Academy

READ MORE: West Kelowna Warriors sign new goalie ahead of pre-season opener

Reim, who was the team captain, tallied 10 goals and 26 assists in 19 games played last season.

He finished first in team scoring among defencemen and fifth overall within the Minnesota High School league, and like Norlin also has past family connections to the Warriors – he is the younger cousin of Willie Reim, who spent two seasons with the Warriors from 2017-2019. And like Norlin’s older brother, Reim is also now entering his third year with Air Force Academy.

“Isaiah is a player who skates well, sees the ice well and defends well. He plays a simple game but has the ability to jump into the rush at the right time,” said West Kelowna general manager and head coach Simon Ferguson.

“Zach is a good first pass defenseman who skates and defends well and has the ability to add some offence with a good shot.”

The Warriors come into the new season on the heels of an 8-10-1-1 record playing in the BCHL Pod Season, after COVID-19 public health protocols shut down the BCHL regular season.

The pod consisted of 10 games versus both the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and the Vernon Vipers. Both those teams didn’t lose much in regards to roster spots while the Warriors made a calculated decision to give Felix Trudeau, Charles Alexis Legault, John Evans and Pat Lawn the opportunity to play in other leagues still able to play a full season.

Those four players return to the Warriors for this season, helping make up some 16 players returning to the lineup from the pre-pandemic roster, tied for the most in the BCHL with the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Silverbacks are coming off an impressive Pod season, which featured perhaps the best offensive line in the BCHL, the trio of Sullivan Mack, Noah Serdachny and Simon Tassy.

Mack has moved on to play his freshman season in college this season while both Serdachny and Tassy have returned to the Silverbacks.

The Silverbacks will ice a lineup with up to 10 returning players, anchored by the high scoring Serdachny and Tassy.

Ferguson says the Silverbacks boast impressive team speed and look to create scoring chances off their transition game.

Tickets for the Warriors home opener are general admission, $10 each. Season tickets and single game tickets are now available online or direct from the Warriors office. For more info visit the Warriors website or call 250-769-7051.

READ MORE: Kelowna Rockets start preseason with 7-3 victory

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