It’s a fitting home and season opener for the Huskies, who will be welcoming their neighbouring rivals, the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks, back to the North Peace Arena.
They played the Canucks twice in the pre-season, once at home and once on the road, and beat them both times by a combined score of 13-6.
Huskies forward, and recently nominated assistant captain for the season Robbie Sidhu, says it’s a perfect way to open the season.
"You know it’s such an awesome rivalry against Dawson and to open up the regular season at home, you couldn’t have asked for a better team."
This will be Sidhu’s final season opener for the Huskies, as well as recently appointed captain Cody Hildebrand, and goaltender Ty Gullickson, who are three key contributors in the Huskies line-up in their final years of Junior B hockey.
With that in mind, Sidhu says the team is entering the season with all the same intentions.
"Personally I think we all have the same goal this year. It’s my last year, Ty’s last year and Cody Hildebrand’s last year and we just want to win a championship this year. It’s been a while since Fort St. John has had winning ways and won a championship so it would be nice to win one this year."
From his perspective at ice level, Sidhu, the teams reigning scoring leader, says the team’s offensive capabilities will be their biggest weapon this year, as each of the four offensive lines can score.
Offensive capabilities are one thing, but winning a championship requires focus and determination throughout an entire roster, something Sidhu says he can already see in his fellow Huskies.
"This year it just seems like everybody has got that mind set. Everyone wants to win it. No matter rookie, first year, second year, everybody. That’s what we stress in the room," he says, adding, "If everyone has the same mind set and the right attitude, we will all be on the same page, and when we are on the same page, we are executing."
Last year, Sidhu, one of the league’s most dynamic and explosive offensive players, lost the NWJHL scoring title by a mere three points with 87 points (32 goals, 55 assists) earned in 33 games, to Grande Prairie JDA Kings’ Nolan Trudeau, who scored 90 points (43 goals, 47 assists) in 36 games.
While Sidhu admits the scoring title is always on his mind, he just has one main focus this year.
"I’m not going to lie, it is [on my mind], but this year I don’t care. At the end of the year there is only one goal for me, if we win a championship. That’s the only award I want to win."
Thursday’s game will be the first of the season for the Huskies, but the same can’t be said for their opposition, who, like the remainder of the league, has already begun playing regular season games. The Junior Canucks have played two games so far and enter tonight’s game with a record of one win and one loss.
The 2012-2013 Huskies quest for a championship begins tonight at the North Peace Arena, with first puck of the pups' season dropping at 8 p.m.