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Silverbacks vs. Vipers is a rivalry on the rise

 

Exciting news has sprung across the junior hockey world with the announcement of the Okanagan Cup. It appears each team will play each other a total of four times, totaling for twelve games in the exhibition series. Salmon Arm, West Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton will all go head to head in the Okanagan Cup. 

With many clubs undergoing substantial roster changes, this is a chance to see the players in game situations, which is usually a good indicator of where they stand amongst the crowd. It is an excellent opportunity to catch up on some much missed junior hockey and gives fans a chance to see these teams in action beyond scrimmages on social media.

Potential divisional rivalry

What’s most exciting is the matchup between the Silverbacks and Vipers in mid-October in Vernon, and at the end of the month in Salmon Arm. These matchups are a staple for the beginning of the season and both teams will look to make an early impression. 

The Salmon Arm Silverbacks have cracked a spot in the postseason every season since 2015-16 proving they are a consistent playoff contender every year. The downside is that four of their last five appearances have ended in a first-round exit, except for 2019-20. The Vipers had the Silverbacks number in the first round in 2018 by taking the series in four games and in 2019 by winning in five. 

This past season saw Salmon Arm get a sliver of revenge by posting a 5-1 regular-season record against the Vipers. The Silverbacks planned on meeting Trail in the second round while Vernon was poised for a match-up against Penticton before the abrupt end of the season.

No doubt there is blood boiling between the Vipers and the Silverbacks, just based on geography alone. Only being 45 minutes from each other, it makes sense the two teams would have a feud. The Backs and Snakes are ones to keep your eye on during the Okanagan Cup as they should have some heated exchanges.  

Silverbacks leadership core

In recent news with the Silverbacks, it seems the team has finalized their leadership group for the season. Returning players Logan Shaw and Drew Bennett will have an “A” sewn on their jerseys. As well, newly acquired forward Carter Loney has an “A” on the left side of his jersey as well. These players will accompany captain Hunter Sansbury as part of the Silverbacks leadership core this season.

Leadership within teams in the BCHL is no small task. These players are expected to be role models, ones that already exceed the team’s expectations day in and day out. They must hold everyone accountable in the locker room and be able to push new players to fill their shoes in the later years. Needless to say, Salmon Arm has an exciting leadership group to watch this season.