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HomeNewsTrail Smoke Eaters are going to have inaugural BCHL season after all

Trail Smoke Eaters are going to have inaugural BCHL season after all

The Trail Smoke Eaters will join the BCHL’s 17 other teams in a shortened five-week regular season, officially making their debut in the league in a few weeks.

Although the Smoke Eaters played nine exhibition games against the Cranbrook Bucks and Merritt Centennials before the regular season was slated to begin in November, early April will mark the team’s official entry into the BCHL.

On Friday, the BCHL announced that they had been given approval by the Provincial Health Office to hold a condensed season in five regional hub cities, with three to four teams in each hub. Further details including a full schedule and announcement of hub city locations will be announced over the coming days by the BCHL.

MORE: BCHL given approval to return to play (March 12, 2021)

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As for how the Trail Smoke Eaters are feeling, Tim Fragle was definitely in shock when the announcement came but is excited to be back out on the ice.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, so initially, it was like really we got approved, kind of surprised but in and out of breath excited,” Fragle told MyKootenayNow, General Manager and Head Coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters. “It’s been harder on the kids than us as adults. They’ve been model citizens this year and they were excited to get the news. This is what they’ve been working for all year.”

“It’s just always going to come back to these players, right? They want to play so bad and they want to showcase their stuff and get to the next level and I am so happy that we’re able to provide that for them now.”

With two veteran 20-year-old players heading to the states to play College hockey, Fragle said they aren’t expecting anyone to step up to try to fill their shoes, instead, playing together as a team to get the same results.

“They were two twenty-year-olds that had extensive experience, I don’t think I’m going to put that pressure on anyone. We did acquire another defenseman before we got shut down from Chilliwack and we’ve had guys in our group get better as the season went on that could take on more responsibility but I don’t expect them to shoulder the load of either Cody (Schiavon)  or Connor (Sweeney).”

When asked if Trail was one of the five regional hub cities, Fragle didn’t divulge any details, noting that the league will be making any announcements on the schedule and hub locations in the coming days.

“It hasn’t been approved officially, I think the BCHL is going to come out with something in the coming days with a release on whose in what pod and whose hosting. There’s a lot of rumours out there but they haven’t shared much with us. I will be honest, the whole time they’ve kind of left us quiet and didn’t want to give us too much information.”

The BCHL season will begin its shortened season in the first week of April.

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