FIRST TWO GAMES OF THE OPENING SERIES PLAYED AT PROSPERA CENTRE
GAME 2 - MARCH 16 - 7: 30
GAME 1 - MARCH 15 - 7: 30
Hockey fever is here again as, for the first time in more than six years, a Chilliwack junior hockey team will begin a playoff series as the favourites to advance to the next round.
Chilliwack City Hall raised the Chiefs flag Wednesday in advance of Friday's start of the British Columbia Hockey League's (BCHL) playoffs.
After five years of Western Hockey League futility, the Chiefs returned to Chilliwack in 2011 only to draw the virtually unstoppable Penticton Vees in last year's playoffs. This season, however, Chilliwack's hometown heroes have a real shot at making a run to the BCHL championship, and beyond.
That has Mayor Sharon Gaetz feeling optimistic. "The combination of Coach Smyl's experience with this solid group of young men gives us a great chance against the Spruce Kings," she said in a press release.
The mayor's right: the Chiefs should be favoured to set fire to the Spruce Kings' playoff hopes in the best-of-five series.
Chilliwack went 6-2 against Prince George in regular season play, outscoring their opponents 29-16 in the process. As the second seed in the Mainland Division, the Chiefs will have home ice advantage, which will allow them to play the first two games in the friendly confines of Prospera Centre.
And with goalie Mitch Gillam between the posts, Chilliwack also boasts the Most Valuable Player in the Mainland Division.
That said, toppling the Spruce Kings will be no walk in the park.
? For a full preview of the series, turn to page 21.