Kamloops Blazers begin their 2021 season

After over a year off the ice, the Blazers finally drop the puck at the Sandman centre

The Blazers celebrate one of their six goals during their game against the Prince George Cougars at the Sandman Centre which took place on April 1. (Submitted)

The Kamloops Blazers have endured the longest offseason of their history after they were shut down due to COVID-19 in March of 2020.

They finally made their comeback to the Sandman Centre on March 26 when they played their first game in over a year. Since then, the Blazers have been on fire, winning their last five games in a row and remaining the only team undefeated in their B.C. division. 

Due to the pandemic, the Blazers are currently participating in a shortened 24 game season that features the five British Colombian teams playing against one another. Kamloops, along with Kelowna, was chosen to be the cities to host games in and it seems that the home-ice advantage is treating them well. 

Kamloops is leading the division in scoring by a long shot with 26 goals scored in five games played. Their success is sparked in large part by leading goal scorer Logan Stankoven who has seven goals over the course of four games. Stankoven, an 18-year-old Kamloops native is having a breakout rookie season and is expected to have a bright future as an NHL prospect. 

Dylan Garand has been solid between the pipes and has recorded a perfect record as a goaltender for the Blazers. In five games, he has recorded a 0.876 save percentage with a 2.73 goals-against average. His experience with Team Canada during the World Juniors last winter is paying off tremendously. 

Despite the Blazers’ success, there is no knowledge of whether the league will host any type of playoffs after the 24 game season. This would come as a disappointment given that the fact that the Blazers are fully capable of making a serious run at the championship this season.

That being said, the Blazers will be looking to remain undefeated when they play the Vancouver Giants on April 5 and the Victoria Royals on April 9. Both games will be played at 7:00 p.m. at Sandman Centre. Due to COVID-19, no fans will be allowed to spectate but all Kamloops games can be heard on Radio NL (650 AM), while options for watching the game live can be found at chl.ca.