The Cochrane Chaos junior female hockey team will be kicking off their season with plenty of flair and pent-up anticipation late Saturday afternoon.
It's been a tradition of the team to involve female players of Cochrane Minor Hockey in their home season opener from day one. Both the Cochrane Chaos and their opponents, the Calgary Titan, will be escorted to the ice by budding players. They'll also see a little ice time later on during intermission.
"I hope we can have a lot of people out to see our first game and be part of that opening ceremonies," says Chaos Head Coach Derek Loomer. "It's always a special game for us."
The matchup is thrown back for Loomer.
"We have a good rivalry with the Titans. I think that was who we played in our very first game back six years ago."
There's a lot of new faces on the Chaos this season. The bench has been expanded to 22 players, from 20, and only 12 of them are veterans.
Among them are Audrey Buston, Shelby Kirkpatrick, Jenna Weseen, and Ryann Altwasser, who all aged out.
"Those four girls have basically been with us from the start, so it's a pretty hole to fill. I think from a team perspective, it's going to feel a lot of different in the room for a bit, just because they were such an important part of our team from when we started. It's going to be an interesting adjustment this year."
But they have plenty of talent returning, including Cochranites Summer Gibbons and Sarah Nusl.
The Chaos won all three of their exhibition games leading up to the season opener.
Loomer says the team looked better each game and the coaches got a feel for the team's new chemistry and areas requiring development.
"For some of the girls, you could see that they haven't been on the ice for an extended period of time and were finding their timing. But overall for the first few games of the season, everybody worked hard and it looks like there's a lot of potential."
Game time is 4:15 at Totem One.