The Penticton Silver Bullets simply had no other choice.
Matthew Fraser, the captain of the senior men’s hockey team, says the team will battle the Rossland Warriors on the road instead of playing at Memorial Arena for its first playoff series in 28 years.
After the conclusion of the regular season in late January, the first-place Silver Bullets were set to host the Warriors for the Independent Division Finals.
But official rules from BC Hockey state if an odd number of regular-season weekend sets are played, the home team is on the hook to pay for the visiting team’s expenses in the playoffs.
It’s money the reformed Silver Bullets just don’t have, as of Feb. 25.
“We raised between $700 and $800 each weekend series this season, which is amazing,” Fraser said. “But it’s also cost us $25,000 to operate for the season.”
As a result, Penticton will battle the Warriors on the road from March 10 to 12 in a best-of-three series, for the right to represent the Independent Division at the prestigious Coy Cup tournament in Quesnel later in the spring.
“It’s unfortunate for the fans here, but we’re excited to represent over there and play our hearts out,” Fraser said. “I believe in Penticton and think we have the best hockey fans in the world.”
In preparation for the playoffs, the Silver Bullets will play the UpperDek Vees on Sunday at the OHS Training Centre.
Fraser is inviting the community to attend and support the team before they go to Rossland.
Admission is free and puck drop is at 7 p.m.
Financially, Fraser is optimistic about next season and beyond.
He hopes the team can attract more sponsors and organize community events year-round, like golf and dodgeball tournaments.
In its first season back in B.C.’s independent hockey league, Penticton played in a division with the aforementioned Warriors and Powell River Regals.
Fraser anticipates team expansion and more interconference action for the Silver Bullets in the coming years.