It’s been a busy month for the West Kelowna Warriors as the B.C. Hockey League team gets set for another season of junior A hockey at Royal LePage Place.
This week the Warriors are wrapping up its second annual hockey school, where 40 kids are getting put through their paces by the Warriors coaching staff and some returning players.
At the same time veteran players are returning to West Kelowna in preparation for the opening of the Warriors’ training camp next week.
It all means one thing to Warriors’ head coach/GM Rylan Ferster: It’s hockey season once again.
“It’s fun, I’m really excited to get it going,” said Ferster. “Our year last year was pretty successful. We finished second and got to the conference final and having the guys moving on with scholarships. Now we’re excited for another year.”
The Warriors will open its main camp next Thursday with 40 players looking to crack the team, including 10 returning players from last year as well as a handful of veterans brought in through various trades in the off-season.
Ferster says there will be good competition at camp, both amongst the veterans looking to move up the depth chart and for rookies looking to make the squad.
Above all the coach is looking for good players and good people to make sure the chemistry on the team is solid.
“I think first and foremost you have to be a good teammate and a good person,” he said. “I think it’s so important to have good chemistry in the dressing room. It’s so detrimental if your room is not clicking for one reason or another. But when you have good chemistry the sky is the limit because you have guys playing for each other.”
The Warriors begin main camp next Thursday and will skate twice a day for three days leading into a three game exhibition schedule. Ferster says every player that attends camp will get at least one exhibition game to prove himself with the coach expected to make his first cuts after the team’s exhibition opener at home against Penticton on Aug. 25.
The Warriors and Vees will also play Aug. 26 in Penticton with West Kelowna wrapping up the exhibition season Aug. 31 against Vernon at RLP.
The Warriors open the regular season in Chilliwack at the 2nd Annual BCHL Showcase on Sept. 6 vs. Surrey and Sept. 7 vs. Nanaimo. The Warriors will hold its home opener on Friday, Sept. 13 when they host the Merritt Centennials at 7 p.m.