There are two home games for the Chilliwack Chiefs this weekend and if things go well they clinch a spot in this year’s playoffs.
Granted, making the playoffs this season hasn’t been in doubt for a while now and it says as much about the struggles of the Prince George Spruce Kings and Surrey Eagles as it does the strong play of the Chiefs, it’s still quite an accomplishment to clinch prior to the trade deadline.
While the Chiefs can clinch with a win Saturday against Trail and a Prince George regulation loss in Coquitlam, the Penticton Vees can actually clinch one night earlier with a win over the Vernon Vipers.
Speaking of the trade deadline we’re just a few days away from Jan. 10, the final day for BCHL teams to make trades.
Going into the weekend there are only three teams that look like obvious sellers to me. Surrey, Prince George and Merritt will start to, or have already begun looking forward to next year. We may see some of their better players who are playing their final year of junior hockey moved to teams in contention for a league title.
I don’t expect Surrey to be able to do much as they’ve already made several moves with an eye on next year.
Looking at the Island division, Alberni Valley and Victoria are in a battle for the final playoff spot. While the likely reward for securing that final spot is a date with the Nanaimo Clippers in round one of the playoffs, neither team is expected to give up a chance at that spot by moving their top players. It was only last year that Alberni finished fourth and built a 3-1 series lead against the Clippers before losing in seven games.
It’s a similar situation in the interior with the Vernon Vipers and Trail Smoke Eaters fighting for the final playoff spot and a first round matchup against the Penticton Vees.
Trail hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2010-11 season so getting there would be seen as a move in the right direction.
For Vernon though, a team that routinely contends (and wins) national championships, I wonder if a likely early playoff exit is something they would bother going all in on. They have some top end players that would likely bring them a lot in return should they decide to move them.
As of my writing this Thursday morning the Chiefs have not made any moves. Keep an eye on the Chiefs website, twitter feed and Facebook page to see if they do get involved.
As I mentioned earlier, two home games for the Chiefs this weekend. It’s SPCA night Saturday when they host the Trail Smoke Eaters.
Sunday’s opponent is Prince George. Sunday’s game is a 5 p.m. start. Fraser Valley Party Rentals will be on site with a bouncy castle for the kids and fans are invited to skate with the team following the game. Skate rentals will be available.