The Delta Ice Hawks are getting ready to play regular season hockey.
The Hawks will conclude their exhibition schedule by taking on the North Vancouver Wolf Pack this weekend and will host the other team in their cohort group — the Langley Trappers — on Tuesday night in Ladner.
That will be their final test before likely taking on the defending Pacific Junior Hockey League champion Wolf Pack on Saturday, Oct. 17 in what will be the start of 18 games against North Van and Langley leading up to Christmas.
All three teams have been busy securing dates in their regular home arenas that will mean games on Tuesday (Delta), Wednesday (Langley) and Saturday (North Vancouver).
“This is definitely uncharted territory,” said Delta GM and head coach Steve Robinson. “I said to the guys we just have to take it as a best-of-nine series. We want to win the series and that’s the goal to be ahead when it’s all finished. Apparently after Christmas we will be moving from a three to a four-team cohort and playing them six times each for the second half of the season.
“If you asked before the season if we liked the idea of playing an unbalanced season nobody would, but obviously we are way past that at this point.
“We understand what the league is trying to do in keeping pace with all the health authorities and keeping everybody satisfied with our safety plans. The main thing is seeing our protocols are working to mitigate the risk.
“It’s a fast changing landscape and obviously we are all hoping this second wave doesn’t put everything back to a screaming halt again.”
The Hawks did get their first taste of exhibition action last weekend — a 4-2 loss to the Wolf Pack. Their cohort group features not only the defending champions but Langley finished first in the Harold Brittain Conference a year ago.
“At the end of the day they are formidable opponents, but on paper not powerhouses like they were last year,” added Robinson. “We got the 2-0 lead but they already had a couple of games under their belts and you could definitely see their level of precision was much better than us.”
Depth on the blueline is poised to be Delta's greatest strength this season. The Hawks have welcomed back Callum McDonald. The 19-year-old played junior “A” last season in Alberta and Saskatchewan.