Kelowna Chiefs head coach Ken Law said his team will more be as competitive or more competitive than last season. (Contributed)

Kelowna Chiefs head coach Ken Law said his team will more be as competitive or more competitive than last season. (Contributed)

Kelowna Chiefs look to continue winning ways during unusual season

The KIJHL season will begin Nov. 13 when it plans to run a 30-game campaign with three teams opting out and no fans in the stands

The Kelowna Chiefs Jr. B. Hockey Club will look to pick up where they left off when the puck drops to start the 2020/21 KIJHL season in November.

Before COVID-19 concerns forced the KIJHL to cancel the remainder of the playoffs in March, the Chiefs were tied 1-1 in a second-round series against the Princeton Posse that they were favoured by many to win. The Chiefs, led by leading scorers Kayson Gallant and Porter Dawson, were on a roll in the playoffs, dropping only a single game to Princeton after boasting a 33-12-3-2 record in the regular season and finishing first in the Bill Hausen Division.

”Our chances were really good of going all the way,” said Ken Law, head coach of the Kelowna Chiefs.

“We were really starting to gel and just getting our feet under us. We had our injured players back and the rug got pulled out from under us on our way to Princeton for game three.”

On Sept. 3, the league made the decision to delay the start of its season to Nov. 13 when it plans to run a 30-game campaign with three teams opting out and no fans in the stands. The Junior B league announced it would move forward with just 17 teams competing after the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, 100 Mile House Wranglers and Spokane Braves decided to take the season off.

READ MORE: KIJHL delays season to Nov. 13; three teams opt-out

Despite the changes, the Chiefs organization will conduct business as usual, using training camp to make final roster cuts and to ensure their players are in game-shape for the commencement of the regular season. Although, for many hockey players, finding suitable training centers wasn’t easy over the summer due to the pandemic.

So far, Law said he has been impressed with many of his player’s conditioning during camp, while others have come in quite noticeably out of shape and may be at risk of losing their roster spot.

”I’m impressed with our returning players because we give them programs to follow and a lot of the guys have come in incredible shape,” said Law.

”Then, there are other guys that you can tell did not put the work in, so, they could be looking for a new place to play. It’s as simple as that. Some of the young guys that have come into the camp, you can tell that they’re hungry for it and did everything they needed to do in their time off to get into the best shape they could.”

With 18 players returning this season, the Chiefs will look to play to their strengths of speed and skill this season with a strong defensive corps being the difference-maker. Law said every defenceman on the roster is over six-feet tall and mobile, a very intimidating factor for opponents.

“Our defensemen are very tenacious with their body contact,” said Law.

“Although we haven’t had a lot of body contact at camp, you can just tell that they’re are ready and more than willing to fight for any pucks that are loose in our own zone or in front of our net. I think we will more be as competitive or more competitive than last season.”

A new player to keep an eye out for this season is winger Hunter Johnson, a recruit from Swift Current, Saskatchewan. After playing with the Assiniboia-based Southern Rebels in the Prairie Junior Hockey League this past season, the 18-year-old will look to make an impact with his offensive ability complemented by his large frame.

Another player to watch is smooth-skating defenseman Jace Simmington-Lesanko who was recruited from St. Albert, Alberta over the summer.

“He’s six-foot-five and he moves like a five-foot-10 D-man,” said Law. He’s got good agility and a big-long-reach. We’re more than excited to have him playing.”

The Chiefs’ 2019/20 leading scorer Porter Dawson and the team’s top-scoring defenceman Ty Marchant are both eligible to return this season.

READ MORE: North Okanagan Knights add three in dispersal draft, trade veteran D-man

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at
Follow me on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna Fire Department. (FILE)
Early morning downtown Kelowna dumpster fire deemed suspicious

RCMP and the Kelowna Fire Department will conduct investigations into the cause of the blaze

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis has served as the band’s chief since his first of six electoral wins in 1991. (File photo)
Okanagan Indian Band seeks nominations for upcoming election

A new OKIB chief and council will be elected March 30, 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read