|Hockey's back at the Jim, as the Prince Rupert Rampage welcome|
the Smithers Steelheads Saturday night to open up their 2019-20 season
The Road to Quesnel starts Saturday night as the Prince Rupert Rampage dig into the ice for a new season and another shot at the Coy Cup, as the hometown Rhinos take on the Smithers Steelheads, with the debut game for the CIHL season set for a 7PM puck drop at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
The Steelheads who return to the CIHL after a two year hiatus, will bring a number of new faces to CIHL action, with many of the familiar names of past CIHL campaigns having put the skates away.
The weekend action, which is the only game on the CIHL schedule for the season's launch, marks the start of the sixteen game CIHL campaign that in addition to Smithers will also include Hazelton as a new stop for the Rampage team bus.
The Bulkley Valley community returns to the league after a lengthy absence introducing the Bulldogs to the CIHL fold.
This year will also feature a pretty special weekend for hockey fans just before Christmas, that as Rogers' Hometown Hockey comes to Prince Rupert on December 8th.
And with a storied history of Senior Men's Hockey in the city over the decades, including the more recent contributions from the Rampage, the prospect of some tales of the past for Ron MacLean and Tara Sloan would seem to be one likely theme for the broadcast from the Jim later this year.
When it comes to this years version of the Rampage the group assembled by Head coach Roger Atchison and GM Ron German will be looking to build on a strong season from last year.
One which took the team on to the Coy Cup championship in the Peace Country, which while not successful in bringing back the much coveted trophy, did provide the team the chance to take the measure of a number of rivals whose path they hope to cross again in the Cariboo in 2020.
This year the goal is to book some hotel rooms in Quesnel, which will host this years AA Senior men's final in the spring of 2020, to get there however will mean navigating the challenges of the CIHL regular season and playoffs which will carry the team from now to February.
Towards charting that course, the Rampage will be looking to Judd Repole to have another banner year to follow last season, which saw the forward claim the scoring title and League MVP honours.
Likewise, another strong year to match his award winning season of 2018-19 on defence for Tyler Ostrom will help to keep the goal of the Coy Cup in sight through the season.
The start to the season comes following a fairly short training camp period, with the team working some of the rust off over the course since the ice went in at the Jim.
It's a mix of mostly familiar returning veterans and a few newcomers to the line up that take to the ice for the 2019-2020 campaign tomorrow night.
As the team prepares for the marathon ahead, both Atchison and German are looking at a group that have been through a number of CIHL seasons together and should easily get back into a good flow pretty quickly.
The Rampage released their roster for the season list week, those set to hit the ice on Saturday night include:
1 – Tomoki Yoshizawa
29 – Devon Gerrits
5 – Marcus Atchison
6 – Jacob Santurbano
20 – Hayden Long
77 – Tyler Ostrom
88 – Graeme Lodge
94 – Wade Cline
9 – Thomas Robinson
11 – Jean-Luc Rendell-Fournier
12 – Kale Burns
13 – Teal Burns
14 – Jared Meers
16 – Jordan Weir
18 – Judd Repole
19 – Koltin Chasse
22 – Cody Cringan
25 – Jared Carter
28 – Kory Movold
61 – Teryn Archer
71 – Jeremy Boot
74 – Cole Morris
91 – Cole Atchison
Rampage fans can take advantage of an opening weekend welcome back to the team, which comes following Saturday nights contest at the Civic Centre.
The Seal Cove Neighbourhood Pub will be hosting a Meet and Greet for members of the team as part of the Rampage After Party at the east side pub.
As the season moves forward you can check out the results from each weekend as well as summaries and notes from the games through our results page.
You can get in your own pre game warm up for Saturday night with some notes on the run up to the 2019-2020 season from our Rampage archive page here.