The Cochrane Generals are fired up for tonight's season opener on the road in Okotoks.

Right off the hop, they'll be renewing their rivalry with the Okotoks Bisons, whom they met in last year's HJHL final.

Gens head coach Kurtis Jones believes they are ready after he rolled out his starting lineup in the final exhibition game against the Airdrie Techmation Thunder last Sunday. The Gens dominating the play, 10-2, and won the first game in Airdrie, 5-4.

"It will be challenging, they'll be really good because they're hosting, so we'll see how that goes," says Jones. "Our group's pretty strong, and I'm pretty confident in the group that's there.

"There could be minor changes, but I don't think so. We already have good chemistry around the rink with the guys. You can almost see a team that's going to gel early. We're already been gelling after two exhibition games and tryouts."

The Gens roster numbers eight rookies, but that's deceptive. Most are Cochrane and Calgary players returning home with some junior experience under their belts from other junior leagues. 

Caden Stephenson, brother of Gens veteran Connor, played with the Delta Ice Hawks of the PJHL, and defenceman James Quaife and winger Alex Bend are both returning home from the Campbell River Storm of the VIJHL. 

Dylan Malarchuck played last season with the Columbia Valley Rockies, Ethan Mateice was with the Sicamous Eagles, Evan Judge played for Calgary's CNHA Gold U18AA team, and Logan Paquette recently moved to Cochrane and played last season with the U18AA St. Albert Steel.

Several goalies tried out, but in the end, they stuck with their veterans, Jordan McGinnis and Kaiden Wharton.

On Sunday, the Gens face the Wheatland Kings in Strathmore. Cochrane's home opener is Sat. Sept. 24 against the High River Flyers.

The Gens have been shuffled back into their more familiar territory in the league's south division. The north division Ponoka Stampeders have rejoined the league after taking a break through the pandemic, but the Stettler Lightning have opted not to return. The Lamond Lakers and the Kainai Chiefs, the two weakest teams in the south division, will not be returning this season.