Though the dog days of summer wear on, the complete release of the Kimberley Dynamiters 2016-17 regular season schedule means one thing — hockey season is right around the corner.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League released the complete regular season schedule for its 50th anniversary year earlier in August, unveiling the new format, 46-game slate for the first time.
Following a three-game pre-season schedule, the new-look Dynamiters will open the 2016-17 regular season at home on Friday, Sept. 9, when the rival Fernie Ghostriders come across the mountains.
After years of playing out a 52-game schedule that took teams across both of the league’s conferences, the KIJHL has moved to a 46-game schedule that will keep teams within their own respective conference. The only cross-conference play will come at the conclusion of the post-season during the KIJHL championship series.
The new scheduling format will feature 23 home games for the Dynamiters, though the locale for those games remains to be determined.
With the labour dispute ongoing between the City of Kimberley and the United Steelworkers Union, there exists a very real chance that the Kimberley Civic Centre will be unavailable for use in time for the start of the KIJHL season.
In the case the dispute is not resolved before the season is set to get underway, the Dynamiters will practice and play all home games in Cranbrook at the Memorial Arena. Past president Chad Koran confirmed the contingency plan Tuesday morning.
Regardless of where the games are played, Dynamiters fans will see rivalries renewed in great fashion with the concentration of their schedule within the KIJHL’s Kootenay Conference.
A total of 31 games will be played against Eddie Mountain Division opponents, including eight each against the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, Ghostriders and Columbia Valley Rockies. The Golden Rockets and Dynamiters will face one another seven times.
The remaining 15 games will be played against Neil Murdoch Division opponents, as the Nitros will take on the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, Castlegar Rebels, Nelson Leafs, Grand Forks Border Bruins and Spokane Braves three times apiece.
One particular benefit to the reduced and conference-concentrated schedule is a reduction to the number of times teams are faced with playing three games in three nights.
Come 2016-17, the Dynamiters will only play three games in three nights on one occasion. From Jan. 26-28, Kimberley will play three games — first in Fernie, second in Invermere before rounding it out at home against the Thunder Cats.
The longest stretch of consecutive home games for the Dynamiters will come from Dec. 9-28, when they play host for five consecutive outings, welcoming the Thunder Cats, Rockies (twice) Leafs and Ghostriders.
The lengthiest road tour for the Dynamiters comes from Oct. 29 through Nov. 12, when the team plays five consecutive games away from home, visiting Invermere, Creston (twice), Fruitvale and Castlegar.
Across the season, balance exists in the Dynamiters schedule in that they play five games in the bookend months of September and February, with nine games in each of the four months between.
The annual holiday home-and-home classic is on the itinerary once again, with the Ghostriders visiting Kimberley on Dec. 28, before playing host to the Dynamiters in Fernie on Dec. 29.
Prior to opening the regular season Sept. 9, the Nitros will play three pre-season games, visiting the Thunder Cats (Aug. 31) before hosting the Rockets (Sept. 2) and completing exhibition action on Sept. 3 in Grand Forks.
All Dynamiters home games are tentatively set to get underway at 7 p.m., though changes could come, particularly if the labour dispute is not settled.
The KIJHL regular season concludes Saturday, Feb. 18.
Next on the calendar, the Dynamiters open training camp Aug. 26.
Kimberley Dynamiters 2016-17 Regular Season Schedule
September (five games — four home, one away)Friday, Sept. 9 vs. FernieSaturday, Sept. 10 vs. CastlegarSaturday, Sept. 17 vs. FernieSaturday, Sept. 24 at GoldenTuesday, Sept. 27 vs. Golden
October (nine games — four home, five away)Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. Creston ValleyFriday, Oct. 7 at CastlegarSaturday, Oct. 8 at Columbia ValleyFriday, Oct. 14 at SpokaneSaturday, Oct. 15 at Grand ForksFriday, Oct. 21 vs. Grand ForksSaturday, Oct. 22 vs. SpokaneFriday, Oct. 28 vs. NelsonSaturday, Oct. 29 at Columbia Valley
November (nine games — three home, six away)Friday, Nov. 4 at Creston ValleySaturday, Nov. 5 at Beaver ValleyThursday, Nov. 10 at Creston ValleySaturday, Nov. 12 at CastlegarTuesday, Nov. 15. vs. GoldenFriday, Nov. 18 at Creston ValleySaturday, Nov. 19 vs. Grand ForksFriday, Nov. 25 vs. Columbia ValleySaturday, Nov. 26 at Fernie
December (nine games — six home, three away)Friday, Dec. 2 at FernieSaturday, Dec. 3 vs. Columbia ValleyTuesday, Dec. 6 at GoldenFriday, Dec. 9 vs. Creston ValleySaturday, Dec. 10 vs. Columbia ValleyFriday, Dec. 16 vs. Columbia ValleySaturday, Dec. 17 vs. NelsonWednesday, Dec. 28 vs. FernieThursday, Dec. 29 at Fernie
January (nine games — four home, five away)Friday, Jan. 6 vs. Beaver ValleySaturday, Jan. 7 at Columbia ValleyFriday, Jan. 13 at NelsonSaturday, Jan. 14 vs. Creston ValleyFriday, Jan. 20 vs. GoldenSaturday, Jan. 21 at Creston ValleyThursday, Jan. 26 at FernieFriday, Jan. 27 at Columbia ValleySaturday, Jan. 28 vs. Creston Valley
February (five games — two home, three away)Friday, Feb. 3 vs. FernieSaturday, Feb. 4 at GoldenFriday, Feb. 10 at GoldenSaturday, Feb. 11 vs. SpokaneFriday, Feb. 17 at Beaver Valley