The road to Moose Jaw, Sask., begins in Abbotsford for the Cariboo Cougars.
Moose Jaw will host the 2014 Telus Cup, pitting the top midget teams across Canada against each other for hockey supremacy, April 21-27. Before the Cougars start to envision hoisting the championship trophy, theyll have to win the B.C. Major Midget League, which gets its regular season underway Sept. 28-29 at the first of two Showcase weekends.
The season for the other 10 teams gets underway the weekend prior to the September Showcase but the Cougars open the year with a bye, which is why the team scheduled two weekends of exhibition games this season, said head coach Bryan MacLean, so they wont be too rusty when they finally get going.
The Cougars will face the Greater Vancouver Canadians in a pair of morning games, Saturday (11:45 a.m.) at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and Sunday (8:30 a.m.) at the Richmond Oval. The following weekend (Oct. 5-6) the Cougars will host the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds at CN Centre in games at 3:30 p.m. and 9:15 a.m., respectively.
Before the Christmas break, the Cougars will play 26 games, including 10 at home, wrapping up the first half of their season on the road against the Thunderbirds, Dec. 21-22.
The all-star weekend is slated for Jan. 17-19. The all-star game is on the Friday, followed by the second Showcase. The Cougars will not take part in the second Showcase as its when their second bye is scheduled.
The Cougars wrap up the regular season with four home games against the BCMML finalists from the 2012-13 season with a visit from the Okanagan Rockets (Feb. 22-23) before the defending champion Vancouver Northwest Giants are in town March 1-2.
MacLean said its exciting to have such good competition visiting Prince George right before the playoffs begin.
The battle for the Cromie Memorial Cup begins March 7 with the championship series getting underway March 21. The BCMML winner will travel to Alberta to face the Alberta Midget Hockey League champion in a best-of-three series to decide the Pacific representative at the Telus Cup.
Cats nearly purr-fect in exhibition games
The Cougars completed a four-game exhibition road trip in West Kelowna on Sunday with a 4-1 win over the Pursuit of Excellence. Steven Jandric had two goals while Brogan OBrien and Brayden Dale had singles. Jeremy Matte picked up the win in the Cats net.
On Saturday, the Cougars beat the Burnaby Winter Club 4-2 with Riley Pettitt notching two goals and Keith Redden and Dallas Goodwin potting the others. In their second game, the Cats fell 3-2 to the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Cariboo opened the preseason tournament with a win Friday over South Delta.
The Cougars have an exhibition game Friday in Chase against the Kootenay Ice. Cariboo will then face the Thompson Blazers and the Rockets on Saturday and the Blazers on Sunday.