The Salmon Arm Silverbacks have named defenceman Hunter Sansbury as their captain heading into the 2020/21 season. (Salmon Arm Silverbacks photo)

Salmon Arm Silverbacks face off against Vees in first of BCHL exhibition games

Games part of extended training camp leading to regular season start in December

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks’ 2020-21 season kicks off this week with a pair of exhibition games.

Last week, the BCHL announced its schedule for the upcoming exhibition season which will lead into regular season play when it begins in December.

The exhibition games are part of the league’s extended training camp, and will feature competition between BCHL teams within their cohorts of four. The Silverbacks are part of the Okanagan cohort, which includes the Penticton Vees, the Vernon Vipers and the West Kelowna Warriors.

The Silverbacks will be on the road for first of the BCHL’s exhibition games with a 6 p.m. contest versus the Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Friday, Sept. 25. The two teams face off again the following day, same time, same location.

The ‘Backs will be away for their next game versus the Warriors at Royal LePage Place on Oct. 9, with the two teams travelling to Salmon Arm to face off at Shaw Centre on Oct. 10.

“We believe it’s important to have our players playing meaningful games during this extended period before the start of our regular season, in order to stay engaged and game-ready leading into December,” said BCHL executive director Steven Cocker in a Sept. 18 media release. “Our teams are working within the guidelines to provide our players with a high level of development on and off the ice.”

As of Monday, Sept. 21, there was no plan in place to open the Shaw Centre to the public during the exhibition games.

The Silverbacks will be hitting the ice with returning veterans Drew Bennet, Kieran Ruscheinski, Sam Schofield, Logan Shaw and Simon Tassy, and team captain Hunter Sansbury who will be leading his fellow vets and an impressive array of new players.

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“The amount of talent we were able to acquire and get in recruiting this year has been phenomenal,” assistant coach Tanner Cochrane said in a Silverbacks’ release. “If you look at some younger guys like Noah Serdachny, Mathieu Bourgault — 17-year-old guys that can come in, (they’re) very high-end recruits. Lots of high hopes for them and we think that they can step in and make an immediate impact.”

During the extended training camp, taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Silverbacks will be looking for chemistry between its capable veterans who are coming off a 30-win season, and its promising rookies.

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