By Dale Woodard on February 27, 2021.
There probably isn’t a need for introductions.
And if there are, familiarity will get established really quick.
Welcome to the 2021 Western Hockey League season, a Central Division-exclusive, 24-game sprint that begins over five months later than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Memo to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Medicine Hat Tigers, Red Deer Rebels, Calgary Hitmen and Edmonton Oil Kings, get a good look at one another, you’ll be seeing a lot of each other.
For the Hurricanes, that starts this weekend, beginning tonight in Edmonton against the Oil Kings before the home-opener — minus the fans due to the ongoing pandemic — comes to the Enmax Centre Saturday night at 6 p.m.
So what better time to develop a true hate for your opponent? Might as well, the opportunities will be plenty.
“I think it’s going to be a little different this year when you’re playing teams more than you’re used to,” said third-year defenceman Alex Cotton. “I think the rivalries are going to grow and grow and the games are going to get a little chippy at times, but those games are fun to play in.”
Hurricanes head coach Brent Kisio likened the weekends-only schedule to a college schedule.
“You’re playing the same team, so you have the whole week to prepare for that team and just really focus on one team for that week,” he said. “You have a lot more time to spend on it and focus your group for the team that weekend. But having said that, this weekend doesn’t apply because we haven’t seen each other for a year. It’s a little blindness for the weekend, which is OK. It’s the same for both teams, but it’ll be pretty darn exciting.”
The rest of the Hurricanes schedule isn’t set beyond this weekend.
Check out http://www.whl.ca for updates.
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