Photo: Tami Quan
Elan Bar Lev Wise
It’s been over 19 months since the West Kelowna Warriors played a meaningful game at Royal LePage Place with fans in the seats.
That all changes on Saturday night when the Warriors launch what everyone in the BC Hockey League is hoping will be a full 2021-22 season.
And it’s a season that 20-year-old captain Elan Bar Lev Wise is hoping to be a very special season in West Kelowna.
“Last year wasn’t the year we wanted to see. But, at the start of the season, my senior year, with the rookies we have and the guys coming back, I think everyone is really excited. because they know we have a team that can really do a race this year, ”said Bar Lev Wise ahead of the team’s last training session before the start of the season.
“I played Vernon my first year and we made it to the final. We didn’t win it, but I’m pretty hungry to win this year with this group.”
The Warriors enter the season with a young, veteran-laden club with a crop of highly touted rookies mixed in with 16 returning veterans and depth across the board.
“I would say we have three pretty strong lines, and the fourth line is a younger group, but they played in the group last year and have proven themselves in this league.
“And our D body is pretty special. We have eight D’s who can all play in the lineup every night. Goalkeepers, we have Johnny Derrick who has been in this league for a while, so he’s giving up a good veteran presence.
While Bar Lev Wise will wear the ‘C’ for a second season, he will have a lot of veteran experience to draw on in the locker room and on the ice.
Newcomer Chase Dafoe, Trail captain last season, forwards John Evans and Marcus Joughin and defenseman Nick Ardenaz will all be assistant captains.
“We have a lot of guys who love hockey – we’re really passionate – a bunch of guys who study the game a lot off the ice,” added Bar Lev wise.
“I like to use the term hockey nerds.
The Warriors host Prince George in their season opener on Saturday, a team they beat 4-3 in overtime in a very entertaining preseason game 11 days ago.
The Warriors will pay tribute to the West Kelowna firefighters throughout the game.