Hockey is making a rampaging come back to the ice at the Prince Rupert arena on Oct. 16.
The Rupert Rampage will face off against the Kitimat Ice Demons to start the season with a home opener.
This season will mark the league’s full return to ice rinks across the North West after the 2020/2021 season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game on Oct. 16 also marks the start of the season for all eight teams participating in the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) this year with matches taking place across the region.
“I think it’s going to be pretty electrifying,” Ron German, president of the CIHL, told The Northern View.“I think people are going to be ready for a good outing. I think every team in the league is going to supply some good entertainment in the communities that they’re in.”
Adult fans can expect beer service at games and for those with a sweeter tooth, a new cotton candy machine will be featured.
The first game of the season in Prince Rupert will be a tribute to long-time hockey trainer, Jules Robinson. Robinson served as a highly respected and long-time hockey trainer for the Rupert Rampage, Terena Stegavig, vice president of the Rupert Rampage, said.
“Everybody will have to wear orange in honour of the [Every Child Matters] movement,” Stegavig said.
A limited amount of custom-made orange commemorative jerseys have also been made to honour the former hockey trainer Robinson and the Every Child Matters movement. The limited jerseys will be on sale at the season-opener.
This year, the league will also see the return of a combined Vanderhoof and Fort Saint James team, the Nechako North Stars, after a many-year absence.
“The team returning this year is huge,” German said. “It’s exciting to get them back in the league… the players are going to be excited to play for their fans and the fans are going to be excited to see their local boys and teams,” German said.
Capacity at seated events in B.C. due to COVID-19 restrictions is currently limited to either 50 people or 50 per cent of maximum seats, whichever number is larger. The Jim Ciccone Civic Centre maximum seated capacity at hockey games is 1000, meaning home games will be allowed up to a maximum of 500 fans in attendance.
Starting Sept. 14, proof of one dose of a vaccine will be required to enter seated events. After Oct. 24, when the season is in full swing, proof of full vaccination will be required for entry. This includes all athletes, staff, volunteers and spectators.
See the entire Rupert Rampage 2021/22 schedule below:
Home: Oct. 16 vs. Kitimat
Home: Oct. 23 vs. Hazelton
Home: Oct. 30 vs. Vanderhoof/Fort Saint John
Away: Nov. 6 vs. Kitimat
Away: Nov. 13 vs. Williams Lake
Away: Nov. 14 vs. Quesnel
Home: Nov. 27 vs. Terrace
Home: Dec. 11 vs. Smithers
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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