While the rest of the North Peace Hockey League (NPHL) teams have already started their season, the Dawson Creek Senior Canucks play their first game Thursday — a homer against the Grande Prairie Athletics.
“We’ve seen lots we like and we’re pretty excited about getting the season underway,” says head coach Chris Stevens. “The guys are looking forward to it and I think we have, once again, a pretty good squad.”
The roster is shaping up to have about 25, 26 players, with about 12 to 14 returners. With work schedules, Stevens says there are still a few question marks.
“Being able to have a full lineup every night, I think that that’s always the challenge in this league, where you go on the road on a weeknight or a Saturday — you’re leaving pretty early. A lot of guys can’t make it from work in time for the bus,” he says.
“It’s too good of a league to play shorthanded, I think the key is to have a healthy full dressed bodies every night and it goes a long way for sure.”
The Athletics have already played two games prior to the Canucks, going 1-1, both against Fort St. John. Grande Prairie won the home contest, but lost on the road, and have scored 12 goals while allowing eight.
“It’s a little different. They’ll be a couple games under their belt and feeling good, so we’ll have to make sure we’re ready,” says Stevens of the late start to the season.
After the late start, things become fast paced with a game every week — two every week, except for two weeks — in the run-up before Christmas.
Puck drop for the season and home opener is 8:30 pm at Memorial Arena.