Hockey Night in Kamloops
Wednesday, March 14, is shaping up to be a remarkable night for hockey in the Tournament Capital.
In the city, three major events are taking place on four rinks, while action in Spokane could have an impact on the playoff positioning of the city's major junior squad.
And, all local teams are hoping the Ides of March do not decide to visit a day early.
The action begins at 5 p.m. at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre when the annual Kamloops Minor Hockey Association's Night of Champions begins.
There, title tilts for the atom, pee wee, bantam and midget recreational leagues will be contested on both ice surfaces — the NHL-size sheet and the adjacent Olympic-size frozen pond.
The atoms (ages 9-10) take to the ice at 5 p.m., with the Kamloops Sandman Inn Sharks facing the Kamloops Sandman Inn Fire Hawks on the NHL rink.
The pee wees (ages 11-12) follow at 5:30 p.m. on the Olympic ice when Tam Fury takes on the Scotiabank Jets.
The bantams (ages 13-14) will then hit the NHL ice at 7:15 p.m. as the Big O Tire All Blacks play Lucky 7, followed by the midgets (ages 15-18) at 7:45 p.m., when the Cap-It Truck Ware Autobots and AAA Photography Warriors battle on the Olympic side.
While hundreds of fans will pack the two rinks on McArthur Island for what is truly an amazing night of championship hockey, the city's junior B squad will be at home for the pivotal Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs — but in a foreign venue.
The Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League will host the Sicamous Eagles at 7 p.m. at Interior Savings Centre.
The Storm are playing in the home rink of the Western Hockey League's Kamloops Blazers as Kamloops Minor Hockey stages its big night on McArthur Island, the Storm's home rink.
Also in downtown Kamloops, the 2012 B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League championship tourney will begin at venerable Memorial Arena.
There, the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are playing host to the best of the best in college hockey, with the Simon Fraser Clan, Eastern Washington Eagles, Okanagan Coyotes, Trinity Western Spartans and Victoria Vikings all vying for West Coast glory.
TRU begins its quest on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with the marquee matchup against Okanagan.
Meanwhile, as the River City is overrun with crucial contests, the WHL's Kamloops Blazers will be in Spokane to play the Chiefs. The Blazers have an outside chance of overtaking Tri-City for first in the Western Conference. Kamloops concludes its regular season this weekend with a home-and-home series against Prince George.
The Blazers host the Cougars at Interior Savings Centre on Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m.
A ceremony will be held before the game to honour the club's award-winners, including the KTW Plus/Minus honoree.