Warriors change start times

The West Kelowna Warriors have made a significant change for the upcoming 2019-2020 BC Hockey League season.

The club has moved the start times of its Saturday games back an hour from 7 p.m. to 6 p.m. The move was announced Tuesday as the league unveiled most of its new schedule.

Club owner Kim Dobranski says the change was made partly due to good attendance numbers in other cities, such as Penticton and Vernon, with earlier Saturday start times.

"We're trying to get more fans out, more families and younger fans," Dobranski said of the change.

Fifty-six of the team's 58 games were released Tuesday. The final two games, part of the league's annual Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack, will be released today.

The schedule has some quirks and "challenges," including a one-month period, between Oct. 25 and Nov. 22 when the Warriors are without any home dates. They'll play seven games on the road during that period.

"I'm not happy about that, but the trade-off is more Saturday games and fewer Tuesday and Sunday dates," he said. "We're also getting more home dates in September and after Christmas."

More than half of the Warriors' 28 home dates will be played during those times, including six in September and 10 after Christmas.

The Warriors also have six back-to-back home weekends either on a Friday-Saturday or, on one occasion, Saturday-Sunday.

"That allows us to do special theme weekends," said Dobranski, who says the team is trying to create a festive event atmosphere at Royal LePage Place as opposed to just hosting a hockey game.

The season-opening weekend will have a back-to-school theme, while Oct. 18 and 19 will have a breast cancer awareness theme where the players will don pink jersey's that will be auctioned off.

The always popular Teddy Bear Toss night is set for Dec. 14.

The Warriors open the season at home Friday, Sept. 6, against Vernon and, in another quirk of the schedule, don't face the Vipers again until Jan. 24. In fact, five of their final 12 games will be played against the Vipers.

The Warriors open training camp Aug. 19, and kick off their pre-season schedule soon after. That schedule has not yet been released.

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