SCWHL season begins Saturday in Kamloops. Victoria and Coquitlam
Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - Submitted by SCWHL
Six games featuring eight of its nine teams are on the schedule in Week One of the South Coast Women’s Hockey League regular season, which begins Saturday, Oct. 1 in three cities.
The defending regular season champion Meadow Ridge Moose travel to Kamloops for two games against the Kamloops Vibe at Mcarthur Island Sport and Event Centre. The two rivals face-off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night and again at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.
The two teams clashed on the final day of the Ekanite Consulting/SCWHL Provincial Championship Tournament in Hope, B.C. last spring, with the Moose topping the Vibe 3-1 to claim third-place in the six-team tournament.
Meadow Ridge will be led by last season’s SCWHL goaltender Megan Buchanan, a former member of the Chatham University Cougars (2011-14) in Pittsburgh, PA. From Stittsville, ON, Buchanan played in 14 regular season games with the Moose last season and posted a 1.79 goals against average and a .938 save percentage.
The Vibe also feature a Most Outstanding Goaltender award winner. Ashley Fischer won the trophy in the 2017-18 season.
The first game Week One will take place at 6:15 p.m. Saturday at Planet Ice – Coquitlam, where the defending B.C. Hockey Senior AA female champion North Shore Rebels will visit the South Fraser TNT. North Shore won its first-ever provincial championship in Hope last spring, edging the Richmond Devils 3-2 in the final.
Cassidy Bell of the Rebels won the SCWHL Most Outstanding Player Award for 2021-22, her first season in the SCWHL. Bell third in the SCWHL scoring race in both goals (12) and points (21). A native of Baldonnel, BC (just outside of Fort St. John), Bell joined the Rebels after five years (2016-21) with U Sport’s McGill Marlets.
The Devils will begin their 2022-23 season in the Greater Victoria area, playing two games against the Island Surge. Games times are 9 p.m. Saturday at the Panorama Rec Centre, and 11:20 a.m. Sunday at the Esquimalt Arena.
The games will be the first for the Surge since Mar. 1, 2020. That game, an 8-1 loss to the Fraser Valley Jets, completed the 2019-20 regular season. The SCWHL canceled the 2020-21 season due to the global pandemic, and the Island squad suspended operations for the 2021-22 campaign.
The final game of Week One takes place at 6 p.m. Sunday evening, when the expansion Burnaby Mountain Capitals play their first-ever SCWHL game on home ice, hosting the Fraser Valley Jets.
The Jets – two-time B.C. champions prior to North Shore’s title last spring – boast a pair of SCWHL award winners from last season.
Melanie Jue was the league’s Top Scorer, netting 36 points (14 goals) in 22 games played. Jue, from Richmond, B.C., was in her first season in the SCWHL after playing four seasons in the NCAA with the Cornell University Big Red (2006-2010) and four years in China with the KRS Vanke Rays (2017-21).
Natasha Steblin earned the Most Outstanding Defender award. The former University of Alberta Panda (2013-16) was second in league scoring with 10 goals and 27 points in 22 games played.