The Kelowna Rockets will launch the new Western Hockey League regular season with a doubleheader against one of their closest rivals.
The 2013-14 schedule, released this week by the WHL, has the Rockets kicking off the new campaign Friday, Sept. 20 in Kamloops against the Blazers. Kelowna and Kamloops will meet again for a rematch the following night, Saturday, Sept. 21 at Prospera Place.
It was the Blazers who knocked off the Rockets in four games in the second round of last spring’s WHL playoffs.
The Rockets will see the defending WHL champs early in the new campaign as the Portland Winterhawks pay a visit to Prospera Place for two games on Oct. 4 and 5.
Kelowna’s annual pre-Christmas road trip will take the team on a six-game tour of the Eastern Division, beginning Dec. 10 in Swift Current and ending Dec. 17 in Saskatoon.
The Rockets will close out the 72-game regular season with a home-and-home set against Vancouver, playing March 14 at Pacific Coliseum and March 15 back in Kelowna.
Meanwhile, the Rockets will play four exhibition games prior to the start of the 2013-14 regular season.
The Rockets will host two home pre-season games, playing Kamloops on Friday, Aug. 30 and hosting the Vancouver Giants on Sept. 7. Kelowna will play in Vancouver on Aug. 31 and in Kamloops on Sept. 6.
For more on the Rockets and WHL schedules, visit whl.ca