The Thompson Blazers will play their home games in five different arenas this season, three of which are in Kamloops.
The B.C. Major Midget League team will play seven games at the Interior Savings Centre, four each at Memorial Arena and McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, three in Chase at the Art Holding Memorial Arena, and one in Logan Lake at the Logan Lake Arena.
According to the schedule, the Blazers also will be the home team in a game on the Lower Mainland on Nov. 9, but Blazers head coach Mark Chase said the Blazers are hoping to move that game to Art Holding Memorial Arena. He’s also looking at the possibility of moving the game in Logan Lake that is scheduled for Dec. 7.
Despite their home games being divided amongst a number of venues in the interior, Chase said he’s pleased with they way the scheduling worked out.
“When something’s starting new and fresh there’s a lot of growing pains,” he said.
“Believe it or not, it’s been a pretty smooth transition because of all the help we’ve had.”
Chase has been working with the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association and the City of Kamloops to move the Blazers to Kamloops on a full-time basis. Thus far, he’s managed to secure ice time at Memorial Arena for all of the team’s practices. He’s secured space for a permanent locker-room as well, which should be ready for the team’s home-opener.
The hope is still to have all of the team’s games in Memorial as well next season, though space is at a premium.
Chase said that despite the Blazers’ hopes of being based in Kamloops next season, a lack of space wasn’t the only reason some of this year’s games are in Chase.
“The reason for keeping a couple games in Chase is the fact that they have been so good to us,” he said. “B.C. Hockey suggested . . . that we give them a couple games, almost treat them as showcasing the program.”
The Blazers’ home-opener is to be played at the ISC on Sept. 21 against the Vancouver-North East Chiefs.
Later this month, the team will travel for the first of two showcase weekends. The showcase games will be played at the Richmond Oval, the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and the Burnaby Winter Club on Sept. 28-29.
The second showcase is scheduled for Jan. 18-19, with games in the Langley Events Centre, the Langley Sportsplex, Planet Ice and the Richmond Oval.
Thompson will start its longest road trip of the season on Jan. 11 in Victoria against the South Island Royals. It will make stops in Coquitlam and Langley to play the Chiefs, Prince George to play the Cariboo Cougars, and Richmond to play the Greater Vancouver Canadians, before returning to Langley to finish the trip against the Valley West Hawks.
The Blazers will twice be at home for six consecutive games, their longest homestands of the season. The first stretch will begin on Oct. 26, with two games in Chase, one at ISC and two at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, before hopefully wrapping up in Chase in their rescheduled Lower Mainland game.
The second homestand will feature three games at ISC, one at Memorial Arena, perhaps one in Logan Lake and one on McArthur Island, spanning Nov. 22 to Dec. 8.
In 2012-13, all of the Blazers’ games were played in Chase and Kamloops, with 15 in Art Holding Memorial Arena, four in ISC and one on McArthur Island.