The Chilliwack Chiefs, Merritt Centennials and Prince George Spruce Kings form a three-team pod as the BCHL season finally gets underway. (BCHL graphic)

Chilliwack Chiefs ready for a lot of Merritt and Prince George as BCHL season starts

The Chiefs, Centennials and Spruce Kings may get sick of each other playing in a three team pod

The Chilliwack Chiefs finally get the 2020-21 BCHL season started Friday when they face the Merritt Centennials in a 5 p.m. start at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

The Chiefs are hosting Merritt and Prince George in a three-team pod, with each team scheduled to play a 20 game schedule.

Jesse Adamson, the BCHL’s coordinator of content services, has put together a capsule look at each of the three teams.

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Chilliwack Chiefs

Record in 2019-20: 26-21-5-6

Record in 2020-21 exhibition: 3-3-1-1

Key returning players: Ethan Bowen (F), Kyle Penney (F), Brett Rylance (F), Xavier Henry (D) and Mathieu Caron (G)

Key additions: Massimo Rizzo (F), Sasha Teleguine (F), Ray Fust (F), Lachlan Getz (D) and Jackson Munro (D)

Outlook: Even after losing several players during the layoff between exhibition and the start of the season, the Chiefs still lead the league in college-committed skaters with 14. With many of their key contributors back again this year and playing alongside some high-profile additions, the Chiefs should be the favourite to finish at the top of this pod.

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Merritt Centennials

Record in 2019-20: 14-40-1-3

Record in 2020-21 exhibition: 2-5-0-0

Key returning players: Talon Zakall (D), Ben Ward (F) and Jake McLean (F)

Key additions: Alex Ochitwa (F), Walker Erickson (F), Brandon Dent (F), Zack Dallazanna (F) and Josh Dias (G)

Outlook: Merritt was the lone team to miss out on the BCHL playoffs last season, but has looked to go younger and build for the future this season. Things were starting to come together offensively for the Cents in exhibition before the extended break, so look for the team to get rolling offensively before too long.

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Prince George Spruce Kings

Record in 2019-20: 18-32-3-5

Record in 2020-21 exhibition: 4-2-0-1

Key returning players: Corey Cunningham (F), Mason Waite (D), Andrew Seaman (F) and Carter Cochrane (F)

Key additions: Christian Buono (F), Rowan Miller (F), Max Borovinskiy (F), Hunor Torzsok (F) and Aaron Trotter (G)

Outlook: With last year’s playoffs getting cancelled, the Spruce Kings are still the defending Fred Page Cup champions, although Corey Cunningham is the only player still left on the roster from that team. Prince George looked to be an improved team in exhibition compared to last year and will look to prove that come Saturday when they kick their season off.

RELATED: BCHL veterans thrilled to finish their junior careers with game action

RELATED: Chilliwack Chiefs fans filling the Chilliwack Coliseum with cardboard cutouts


@ProgressSports
eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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