Signs are pointing to a return to normal for the Chilliwack Chiefs and the BCHL in 2021-22, and the league is feeling confident enough to release a full schedule.
After playing 20 games in the Chilliwack pod, the hometown Chiefs will get back to a full 54 game slate. The season will begin one month later than it usually does. Chilliwack will open on the road, Oct. 8, visiting the Langley Rivermen at the George Preston Arena.
Their home opener will come one day later (Oct. 9) when they welcome the Coquitlam Express to the Chilliwack Coliseum.
“We are excited to turn the page and get back to competing for a Fred Page Cup in 2021-22,” said BCHL Deputy Commissioner Steven Cocker. “With our schedule now out, players as well as fans will have the opportunity to look ahead to key dates and get excited for our 60th anniversary season.”
The Chiefs will have a road-heavy start to their campaign, with four of their first 10 and 10 of their first 15 games away from home. But they never have more than three straight on the road, while they’ll have a stretch of five in a row in December, four leading into Christmas and one after.
Where marquee home ice matchups are concerned, the first one is Jan. 8 when Wenatchee skates into town. The Wild skipped the BCHL pod season entirely due to border crossing issues, but they have been a perennial powerhouse since joining the league in 2015.
The Penticton Vees pay their only visit to the Chilliwack Coliseum towards the end of the season, dropping in for a March 11 matchup.
Chiefs fans will have to wait another year to get their first look at the BCHL’s newest team. The Cranbro0k Bucks, Prince George Spruce Kings, West Kelowna Warriors and Merritt Centennials aren’t scheduled to visit Chilliwack in 2021-22 and the Vernon Vipers curiously aren’t listed as a home or road opponent.
That may mean they’re going to be one of Chilliwack’s two opponents at the BCHL Showcase.
Other key dates include the league-wide opening of training camps Sept. 7, the BCHL Showcase Oct. 20-24, the BCHL Road Show Feb. 19-20 and the start of the playoffs March 25.