The 2010-2011 KIJHL season officially kicks off tonight as Castlegar hosts Nelson (7:30 PM, Complex) in the first of a home-and-home series. The two teams met in exhibition play Tuesday night in Nelson in a game the Rebels won 6-2, though the Leafs dressed a young lineup. It's also the regular-season head coaching debuts for both the Rebels' Steve Junker and Nelson's Chris Shaw.
The Rebels are a team looking to avenge last year's early playoff exit. A solid returning core that includes snipers Ryan Aynsley and Spencer Brodt, defensive stalwart Darren Tarasoff and last season's Neil Murdoch Division goaltender of the year Andrew Walton will be complemented by rookies Diego Bartlett, Arthur Andrews and Aaron Brewer as well as a former Rebel back from Junior A in Erik Wentzel.
Here are your 2010-11 Rebels, with last season's team in brackets (this roster can be found on the KIJHL site, I'm told there will almost certainly be late additions):
01 - Andrew Walton (Rebels)
31 - Alex Ross (Rebels)
02 - Aaron Brewer (Kootenay Ice midget)
04 - Darren Tarasoff (Williams Lake BCHL/Rebels)
06 - Jason Nazaroff
22 - Ryan Reid (Rebels)
26 - Erik Alden (Rebels)
27 - Tyler Jones (Rebels)
03 - Erik Wentzel (Estevan SJHL)
07 - Stuart Walton (Rebels)
09 - Ryan Aynsley (Rebels)
11 - Curtis Pereverzoff (Rebels)
12 - Diego Bartlett (Kootenay Ice midget)
15 - Josh McGladery (Notre Dame)
16 - Taylor Anderson (Rebels)
21 - Spencer Brodt (Rebels)
23 - Dylan Richardson (Revelstoke/Rebels)
24 - Tyler Robinson (Rebels)
25 - Arthur Andrews (Kootenay Ice midget)
Our Opponent: Nelson won the Kootenay Conference last season before falling to the Revelstoke Grizzlies in the KIJHL finals in 5 games last season. They've lost a good chunk of their roster to Junior A but still boast an impressive returning core including last year's captain Taylor O'Neil, 30-goal man Gavin Currie and forward Connor McLaughlin. Nelson should be particularly strong on the blue line with 4 returnees, as well as newly-acquired Raymond Reimer who spent last season with the Penticton Lakers. They also snagged forward Colton Schell who scored 20 goals with that same Laker club last year. Nelson will go with two rookies in goal this season. Marcus Beasley was the Major Midget goaltender of the year with the Cariboo Cougars, while Darren Hogg stopped pucks for the Okanagan Rockets of the same league in 2009-10.
Broadcast Info: We're excited to announce we now have the equipment to webcast all Rebels home games on the KIJHL website. If you can't make it to the rink tonight, join me for all the action on KIJHL pay-per-view tonight beginning at 7:30 PM Pacific.
Out of Town: 8 games in total on the KIJHL sked on tonight's opening night. Beaver Valley opens the year in Grand Forks, we'll see the Border Bruins again at the Complex on Tuesday the 14th. Spokane and Princeton are the only teams in the league that don't play tonight.
Sat. 09/11 @ Nelson, 7:00 PM;
Tue. 09/14 vs. Grand Forks, 7:30 PM
Sat. 09/18 vs. Penticton, 7:30 PM
Sat. 09/25 vs. Beaver Valley, 7:30 PM
Sun. 09/26 @ Spokane, 2:00 PM
Bits & Bites: Nice to see former Rebel Corey Bulach has found a home, he'll skate with the Kelowna Chiefs. It's become a familiar refrain, but the Border Bruins have played "Let's Make A Deal" again, this time with Kimberley. The Dynamiters receive 20 year-old Soren Hills in exchange for 18 year-old Chad Filatoff and 17 year-old Tyler McDowell.