The Beaver Valley Nitehawks will kick off the 2023-24 season on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Kimberley against the Dynamiters.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) released its 2023-24 regular season schedule. The season opens a new Junior A era for the KI, with its inaugural games going on Friday, Sept. 22 with 16 of the league’s 20 teams in action.
Nitehawks fans will have to wait until Sept. 29 for B.V.’s home opener in Fruitvale against the Golden Rockets.
All KIJHL teams will play a 44-game regular season schedule that includes six games each against divisional rivals, two games against teams from the alternate division within the same conference, and one game against each team from the alternate conference.
After a three-year layoff due to the pandemic, the Spokane Braves will make their return to the Neil Murdoch Division, and finally celebrate their 50th season in the KIJHL. The Braves are the only U.S. club in the KI and will open on the road in Columbia Valley and Golden before celebrating their home opener against the Rockets on Sept. 30.
For inter-conference play, Okanagan Conference clubs will host opponents from one division in the Kootenay Conference while traveling to the other division, and vice versa. So teams in the Neil Murdoch division host teams from the Doug Birks division and teams in the Bill Ohlhausen division host teams from the Neil Murdoch division.
The Nitehawks start October with five straight games on the road, including a trip to the Okanagan for a three-game tilt against the Kelowna Chiefs, North Okanagan Knights, and Summerland Steam from Oct. 13-15.
The Hawks return home for a long awaited match against the Spokane Braves on Oct. 20.
In November, B.V. is on the road for five of nine games, including two in Princeton and Osoyoos. The KIJHL will take a holiday break from Dec. 23-28 with games resuming Dec. 29 when the Nitehawks host the Nelson Leafs. The teams will meet again and have their traditional New Years Eve match in Nelson on Dec. 31.
The Nitehawks will welcome 2024 with five straight matches at the Hawks Nest, and seven of eight at home in January.
February is the month where teams make their final run for playoffs. The Hawks are scheduled to play seven of their last eight games against Murdoch division rivals including their final match at home on Saturday, Feb. 17 against the Leafs.
The KIJHL playoffs start on Friday, Feb. 23 when 16 teams begin their quest for the Teck Cup.
The KIJHL also released the 2023-24 preseason schedule. The Nitehawks will play six exhibition games, and host their first match against the Castlegar Rebels Tuesday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
B.V. will play the Rebels in Castlegar on Friday Sept. 8 at 7 p.m., before facing the Nelson Leafs on Sunday, Sept. 10 for a 3 p.m. match at the B.V. Arena.
The Hawks play Castlegar one last time on Tuesday, Sept. 12, before having a home and home versus Spokane on Sept. 15 in B.V. and in Couer d’Alene on Sept. 16 at 6 p.m..
The Nitehawks will hold their Main Camp Sept. 1-3 at the Beaver Valley Arena in Fruitvale.