Coming off their best season in a decade, the Okanagan Sun will kick off the 2016 B.C. Football Conference campaign with high hopes and two games on the road.
With new head coach Ben Macauley at the controls, the Sun will begin defense of their conference title on Saturday, July 23 in Chilliwack against the Valley Huskers.
The following week, Okanagan will trek north to battle the Kamloops Broncos on July 30 at Hillside Stadium.
The Sun will play a 10-game schedule with two games each against Vancouver Island, Langley, Kamloops and Westshore. Okanagan will play the Huskers just once in the season opener.
Then on Saturday, Aug. 6, the club’s home opener is bound to cause a stir when the Westshore Rebels come to town.
The Victoria-based team is being coached this season by former Sun sideline boss, Shane Beatty.
In a new wrinkle to the regular season, possibly the most intriguing game will fall on Saturday, Sept. 17 when the defending national champion Saskatoon Hilltops visit the Apple Bowl.
The game will count in the regular season standings and will make Canadian Junior Football history as the first ever interconference game.
“I’m excited looking at the 2016 schedule,” said Ben Macauley, the Sun’s first-year head coach. “I like to look at the whole journey right now before we buckle down and focus on the week by week and day by day work that goes into the regular season.
“There is certainly a buzz about Saskatoon coming to town and have already had former players from Canada reaching out, saying they are making a special trip out just for that game,” he added.
“It’s at a time when we expect to be getting close to playing our best ball of the year, so having a great competitor on the schedule tests us when we need it most.”
For the first time, the Sun will receive three bye weeks—Sept. 3, Oct. 8 and Oct. 23.
The 2016 playoffs open the weekend of Oct. 15 and 16, followed by the Cullen Cup on the weekend of Oct. 29 and 30.
The BCFC winner will host the Canadian Bowl on Saturday, Nov. 12.
In the meantime, the Sun’s spring camp is set May 13 to 15 at the Parkinson Rec and Apple Bowl practise fields.
• Sun 2016 schedule
Saturday, July 23 @ Valley Huskers 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 30 @ Kamloops Broncos 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 6 vs. Westshore Rebels 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 13 vs. VI Raiders 7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 20 vs. Kamloops Broncos 7 p.m.
Saturday,Aug. 27 @ Langley Rams 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10 @ Westshore Rebels 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 17 vs. Saskatoon Hilltops 7 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 24 @ VI Raiders 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 2 vs. Langley Rams 1 p.m.