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TWU Spartans open pre-season with Captains Cup game on Saturday

The defending BCIHL champion men’s hockey team begins schedule with a game against Simon Fraser

The defending BCIHL champion Trinity Western men’s hockey team will open its pre-season schedule with the second annual Captains Cup, starting Saturday (7 p.m.) with a game against Simon Fraser at George Preston Arena.

This is the second year in a row the Spartans will play the SFU and UBC in the Captains Cup, which features a round robin style event, with the top team capturing the tournament title and an historic championship trophy.

TWU will take on UBC Sept. 22 in the final contest of the three-game tournament at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, while UBC host SFU Sept. 21.

The pre-season tournament will kick off the Spartans’ 2018-19 campaign, which will see the team open their BCIHL title defence on home ice, when the Spartans host Vancouver Island University in a two-game weekend series Oct. 5-6.

The Spartans, who captured their first-ever BCIHL championship last season, will once again play a regular season schedule featuring the bulk of their home games early on in the year.

TWU will play nine of its 12 home games by Jan. 11, before finishing the season with just three home games over its final 12 outings. A rematch of last year’s BCIHL championship series is set for Oct. 26, when the Selkirk Saints visit the Langley Events Centre.

With the Eastern Washington University withdrawing from the BCIHL, the 2018-19 schedule has the Spartans playing the other four teams in the league six times each for a 24-game regular season.

This year’s Spartans schedule also includes an exhibition trip to play NCAA Div. I hockey powerhouse University of Minnesota Gophers (Oct. 20) along with NCAA Div. III Hamline University (Oct. 19).

The Gophers, who have won five NCAA Div. I national championships in their history, were ranked No. 18 ( in last year’s final rankings.

In their game against Hamline, the Spartans will play in the Pipers TRIA Rink, which is the main practice facility for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and located on the fifth floor of an old Macy’s building.

This will be TWU’s third exhibition trip to the United States, having played NCAA Div. I opponents St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Mankato in 2014-15 and Wisconsin and Nebraska-Omaha in 2015-16.

The Spartans are scheduled to play Kazakhstan’s national junior team in an exhibition tilt in December, as the visiting Kazakhs prepare for the World Junior Championships in Vancouver and Victoria.

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