The puck dropped Friday for the Kamloops Blazers' first game of the WHL season and fans say they're expecting a big year at Sandman Centre.
Aria Delaney, a young Blazers fan, said the game is definitely the place to be.
“[It’s] definitely very loud. And there's a lot of excitement going around,” she said.
Les Delorme, another Blazers fan said he’s been watching the team for as long as he can remember and sees some good things to come.
“I think we're gonna see a lot of growth and some pretty high quality hockey, got some great players coming back.” Delorme told Castanet Kamloops.
“We have some great things going to happen here this year.”
Many in Blazer Nation say they've been waiting all summer for the first game of the season. The anticipation is high because the club is hosting the Memorial Cup next spring.
“Everybody's excited,” said Elwood Delaney, a self-proclaimed Blazers superfan.
“We all want to win.”
For the fans who were in the stands in 1995 — the only other time the Blazers have hosted the Memorial Cup — the start of the season is bringing a bit of nostalgia.
Delorme said he was living in Merritt at the time and made the trip to the Tournament Capital to watch the Blazers in action.
“It was amazing. I was only like 18 years old so it was quite a while ago so it was nice to see that, now I'm bringing my own kids to the game so something I get to share,” Delorme said.
The Blazers lost Friday, falling 3-0 to the Portland Winterhawks. Many fans are anticipating a rocky start to the season with eight Blazers veterans away at NHL training camps, but the expectations remain high.
“I want to see us win our way into the Memorial Cup,” Elwood said.
“I don't want to see us just get that give me that over here. I think we're going to win our way in and then take it all.”
The Blazers second game of the season will be played in Spokane against the Chiefs on Oct. 1. Their next home game is Oct. 7, when the Victoria Royals visit Sandman Centre.