The KIJHL playoffs start Friday as the Kimberley Dynamiters and Fernie Ghostriders go head to head for game one at the Civic Centre.
The teams share a rivalry Nitros Coach Derek Stuart says is as good as any he’s seen in junior hockey.
He explains his players are getting talked to walking around town or shovelling snow and feels people are eagerly anticipating the series.
He’s sure it’s the same in Fernie and adds the excitement level is probably as high as you can get in a first round match up.
Riders Coach Craig Mohr believes the tension makes it great for fans and both communities.
He thinks they have very good hockey teams and rivalries are always better when both teams are great at battling each other.
The Nitros finished 12 points ahead of the Riders in the regular season but Stuart thinks Fernie is better than their record shows.
He explains in the playoffs, everyone starts at zero and feels they are two evenly matched teams.
He adds with the amount of 19 and 20 year olds Fernie has, they’re going to be a much harder opponent than the uneducated fan might realize.
The Riders went 1-3 in Kimberley this season and Mohr believes they have to get aggressive at the Civic Centre immediately.
He says in the seven games, there are four in the Dynamiters barn and three in theirs – they have to win at least one in their building or they don’t win the series.
Elsewhere the Creston Valley Thunder Cats will host the Columbia Valley Rockies to kick off their first round series.
All four teams play in the same rinks for game two on Saturday.
Kimberley Dynamiters Head Coach, Derek Stuart –
Fernie Ghostriders Head Coach, Craig Mohr –
– Keira O’Loughlin