The Cochrane Chaos are picking up regular play right where they left off last spring against their arch-rival Calgary Titans.
The Cochrane junior female hockey team's home opener is Sunday, Oct. 25 against their toughest south division opponents from last season. The two were hotly contesting the south division championship title when the plug was pulled due to the onset of COVID-19 in Alberta.
"We'll get to start where we finished," says Chaos head coach Derek Loomer, "And we'll actually get to know them very well because we'll play them five times over two weeks to start the season."
The schedule has been adjusted to meet the required COVID-19 protocol for the league. They'll play for two weeks, then sit out for two weeks, so games will come in clumps.
The Chaos will be playing most of their games against south division teams, and there won't be any north division road trips to the Edmonton area. The only exemption is a few matchups against the Central Alberta Amazons, who play out of Penhold, AB. That was included in the schedule because there are five teams in the north division, compared to four in the south.
Because all teams won't necessarily be playing the same number of games, standings will be based upon winning percentages, as opposed to points.
Home openers have been special for the Chaos since the team was formed five seasons ago. Because of COVID-19 protocols, this year's celebration won't include the participation of Cochrane Minor Hockey female players, but all the other bells and whistles will be intact.
Head coach Derek Loomer says they'll be player introductions, recognition of players who finished their junior careers last season with the club, and members of the Chaos alumni will participate in a ceremonial puck drop.
Before this weekend, the Chaos won all three of their exhibition games against the Calgary Jags before sitting out for the mandatory 14-day period. At home, they won 6-2 and 6-3, then squeezed by the Jags, 4-3, on the road.
The team is now anxious to get the regular season underway.
"They're very excited to get it started," says Loomer. "I mean, just having those first few games, you could tell the girls were so happy to be back on the ice, and competing and challenging each other on the ice. I know they're chomping at the bit and ready to be back playing regular games that really matter."
Loomer says he's expecting more parity in the south division this season. The advent of COVID-19 has seen some additional university and college players opt to join the league, and that has been particularly beneficial for the Lethbridge Eagles, who have struggled the past few seasons.
It's will have a lesser impact on the Chaos roster, with one player from both the University of Calgary and SAIT added to the roster. That's comparable to past seasons for the Chaos.
Sunday, the puck drops at 5:30 p.m. at Totem One in the Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre.