Chilliwack Bruins radio colour man Jacob Bestebroer returns this season with his weekly column, providing insight on the home team and goings on around the Western Hockey League.
The Bruins begin their fifth Western Hockey League season this weekend with a pair of road games in Vancouver and Kamloops.
The home portion of the Bruins schedule kicks off a week from tomorrow when the Bruins host the Kamloops Blazers. As the season progresses, different home games will gain importance and interest from fans, but prior to the start of the season here are some of the home games that I think qualify as can’t misses.
Oct. 2. versus the Kamloops Blazers
Adding to the excitement that always surrounds the home opener, the Bruins will be debuting their third jerseys on opening night.
While the opening night jerseys will be auctioned off during the game, the Bruins will wear their third jerseys sporadically throughout the season. The jerseys, which feature the Bruins secondary logo (designed by local artist Stan Greene) on the front, tie in nicely with the theme of the evening, which is a tribute to First Nations.
The game will also give Bruins fans an early look at a division rival who, like the Bruins, enter the season with high expectations. Expect these two teams to battle for positioning in the Western Conference all season.
Nov. 12 versus the Red Deer Rebels
Mark this one on your calendar. Unless these two teams meet in the league finals, it will be Red Deer Rebels forward Ryan Nugent Hopkins’ only visit to Prospera Centre this season.
Hopkins is a lock to be the first WHL player selected in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and could go first overall.
The six foot and 160 pound forward from Burnaby scored 65 points, including 24 goals, in 67 games with the Rebels last season and should improve on those numbers in a big way this year.
One thing that may keep his numbers down is a possible spot on Canada’s World Junior team. That’s a real tough team to make as a 17-year-old, but Hopkins has a good shot at making it.
Nov. 11 versus the Vancouver Giants
The annual Remembrance Day matinee against Vancouver has become a must see for Bruins fans.
No surprise that the Giants will once again be a strong team, and a serious threat to finish first in the B.C. division again this season.
Like they did the past two seasons, the Bruins are expected to wear a jersey that fits in with the theme of the day.
Oct. 23 vs Brandon Wheat Kings
The Wheat Kings only come to down once every two years, which automatically increases interest from fans.
Brandon will lose quite a bit off their Memorial Cup team from last season, but fans will get a look at Dallas Stars first round pick Scott Glennie. Brayden Schenn, a first round pick of the Los Angeles Kings, may stick in the NHL this season. If not, he is one of the must-see players in the WHL.
Nov. 19 versus the Tri- City Americans
The Bruins gave the Tri-City Americans all they could handle in the first round of last year’s playoffs, eventually losing in six games.
Chilliwack versus Tri-City is now the best non B.C. division rivalry the Bruins have going.
Expect each of the four regular season matchups this season to have a playoff feel.