Red-hot Blazers hoping to see Sandman Centre packed this weekend

Blazers riding hot streak

The red-hot Kamloops Blazers are one of the best teams in junior hockey and, this weekend, they might finally get to play in front of a sold out Sandman Centre.

This week, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry lifted the 50 per cent capacity restrictions that had been in place for the Interior Health region.

Blazers captain Logan Stankoven said the team is thrilled to play in front of a full house again.

“It's definitely exciting, I think it's been a long time coming, waiting for that 100 per cent capacity finally come to arise,” Stankoven said.

“A lot of guys are pumped to have a full stadium and a full barn.”

Blazers goalie coach Dan De Palma said a full house boosts team morale and helps the team pay its bills.

“I think it's fantastic — I think from an organizational standpoint, that's huge,” De Palma told Castanet Kamloops.

“First off, I mean, these are challenging operations to run I think we forget — it’s junior hockey. We love to come to the game but it takes resources to do that and so that helps immensely, that helps these guys get all the resources they need to be successful.”

So far this season, the Blazers have been crushing it.

At 17-2-0-0, the Blue and Orange sit comfortably atop the WHL's B.C. Division. They were ranked second in this week's CHL Top 10 after handing the Everett Silvertips, another WHL behemoth, their first regulation loss last weekend.

Goalie Dylan Garand has earned a place on the national junior team for the second year in a row, and Stankoven was also invited to the national junior camp to try and earn a spot on the team.

“It's pretty cool feeling, it's like kind of like every kid’s dream growing up,” Garand said.

“I got the opportunity to do it last year, and it was a good experience, and I'm pretty fortunate to get the same experience again this year. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully, getting the job done.”

Stankoven said Garand’s spot on the team is well deserved and he looks forward to going to camp with him.

“He [Garand] showed us why he's — I think the best goalie in the league and even one of the best in the CHL,” he said.

“He's a great teammate and a great goalie and some of the things he does on the ice— he's a brick wall back there, and a huge part of why we have success.”

The Blazers will play the Vancouver Giants in Langley on Friday. The Kelowna Rockets are slated to visit Sandman Centre for the first time this season on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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