The BC Hockey League (BCHL) has announced the league’s 2021/22 season schedule which could see fans return to the South Okanagan Events Centre to watch the Penticton Vees in action for the first time in over a year.
The 54-game schedule will begin Friday, Oct. 8 when the Vees open on home ice against the Vernon Vipers.
The BCHL is expecting to allow fans back in the stands for the upcoming season. The Vees have been without fans at the South Okanagan Events Centre since March 2020 when the pandemic first hit.
It remains to be seen if there will be a limit on the number of fans in the building to start the 2021/22 season. It will depend on the provincial restrictions in place at the time, said Vees communications director Trevor Miller.
Fans have made a gradual return to sporting events in the United States over the past few months in both the NBA and NHL.
The Montreal Canadiens became the first Canadian team to allow a limited number of fans to attend a game May 28 during game six of their first round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs. A total of 2,500 people — or about 12 per cent of capacity — were in attendance at the Bell Centre in Montreal May 28 to watch the Canadiens beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in overtime.
After their first game of the season against Vernon, the Vees will make their way south for their first road-trip of the season as they travel south of the border to face-off against the Wenatchee Wild.
The season will conclude for Penticton on Saturday, March 19, 2022 with a weekend of back-to-back games in Cranbrook against the Bucks.
The 2021/22 season will also mark the 60th anniversary of the league. The league has many anniversary events planned that will be released in the coming weeks, including more details on the BCHL Showcase, which will return as part of the 54-game regular season.
Key Dates for the Penticton Vees 2021/22 schedule:
Friday, September 17 – Training Camp Opens
Friday, October 8 – Home Opener vs. Vernon Vipers
Saturday, December 18 – Last Game Before Christmas @ West Kelowna Warriors
Wednesday, December 29 – First Game After Christmas @ West Kelowna Warriors
Friday, December 31 – New Year’s Eve Game vs. West Kelowna
Saturday, January 1 – New Year’s Day Game @ West Kelowna
Sunday, February 20 – Family Game vs. Cranbrook Bucks
Wednesday, March 16 – Final Home Game vs. West Kelowna Warriors
Saturday, March 19 – Final Regular Season Game @ Cranbrook Bucks
For a full look at the Vees schedule, click here.