The Spokane Chiefs’ 2021-22 schedule endured three game swaps, announced on Wednesday by the Western Hockey League, and it is possible more changes will come even after the season begins.
Citing the “ongoing border restrictions preventing nonessential bus travel from Canada to the U.S.,” the league pushed back all games between its United States and British Columbia-based teams until at least Nov. 3.
That effectively cost the Chiefs three of their 20 games against Canadian teams in a schedule that was already limited to just those teams from the Western Conference, all of which play in British Columbia or the United States.
“At the end of the day, we’re gonna go month to month,” Chiefs president Mark Miles said in reference to the team’s schedule.
The immediate changes removed Chiefs home games on Oct. 16, Oct. 19 and Dec. 28, and instead, the Chiefs are scheduled to play home games on Oct. 3, Nov. 6, and Dec. 30.
The original Western Conference schedule for the 2021-22 season included 12 games against each team’s four divisional opponents and then four – two home, two away – against the five teams from the other division.
But on the revised schedule announced Wednesday, the Chiefs play only three games against Kelowna, Kamloops and Victoria, and instead have a 13th game against Seattle, Everett and Tri-City.
Making further changes would not be ideal, Miles said, but the team can make it work.
“We might end up playing on some nights where we normally don’t play,” he said, citing the Thursday game on Dec. 30 as an example.
“The challenge is, these buildings are under so much pressure to book events right now that they’re booking a lot of events, so the amount of available days is really limited. So that’s a big challenge right now.”
The Chiefs’ updated schedule includes six games against Canadian teams in November and one in December.
The changes present challenges, Miles said, “but we’re gonna operate as best we can.”
An up-to-date Chiefs schedule can be found on the team’s website, spokanechiefs.com.
Vaccinations a must for Kraken game
On Monday, the Seattle Kraken announced that all guests 12 and older will be required to provide proof of vaccination to attend their home games as well as all their in-state preseason games. That includes the Sept. 26 preseason contest against the Vancouver Canucks at Spokane Arena.
Those who qualify for a medical or religious exemption may attend without proof of vaccination and instead must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours or a rapid test taken within 8 hours of the start of the game.
Proof of a negative test for children under 12 will not be required, according to a team release.
The requirement is unique to the Kraken game.
As a tenant at Spokane Arena, the Chiefs fall under the jurisdiction of the Spokane Public Facilities District. Therefore, they will continue to follow the guidelines of the SPFD as well as state and local health authorities, Miles said.
Thus attendees at all Chiefs events, including the Sept. 22 preseason game, the Oct. 2 season opener and games beyond that, will be required to wear masks, but there is no vaccination requirement.
Proof of vaccination for the Kraken game will include a photo ID that matches any of the following: a COVID-19 vaccination card, a photo of it on a mobile device, or documentation of vaccination from a health care provider.
Ticket holders who do not meet the vaccine mandate are eligible for a full refund of their tickets.
Instructions on how to obtain it will be communicated via email, according to a team release.
Previously held tickets will be made available to the public again via ticketswest.com on Sept. 20.
Chiefs sign two prospects
Following the team’s training camp last week, the Chiefs signed forward Michael Cicek and defenseman Brayden Crampton to standard WHL player agreements, the team announced Wednesday. Both players are 2004-born prospects.
The Chiefs selected Cicek in the sixth round of the 2019 WHL draft. In his last full season, 2019-20, he recorded 37 points in 48 games with the Winnipeg Wild U18 AAA team.
Crampton went undrafted and was listed by the Chiefs in August 2020.
He had 23 points in 29 games during his last full season, 2019-20, with the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds U16 AAA team.
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