Home Opener Date For 2024-2025 Portland Winterhawks Season Announced

Even though less than a week has passed since the Memorial Cup, the WHL is going ahead with the start of next season.   

The Edmonton Oil Kings were the first to announce on Twitter X that their home opener was ready to go. Within the day, the WHL announced all home openers for all teams. 

Portland will start on the road in Kamloops on Friday, September 20, then travel to Kelowna on Saturday, September 21, and their home opener is against Victoria on Friday, October 4. Typically, Portland likes to start on the road, allowing the team to be more gelled when they appear at home in front of their fans. Because the season begins in the third week of September, they figure to have three or four games on the road leading to their home opener. Further details and schedules will be released in the coming weeks. Usually, one can expect the release in the latter part of June. 

With the schedule looking to be released in the next two or three weeks, the Hawks are starting to divest themselves of a glut of overage players. Twelve players had been listed, but only three could suit up for the Hawks next year, including three goaltenders turning 20 next season on the roster. 

Brian Pellerin, assistant coach of the Hawks, will not appear behind the bench for the upcoming season as his contract is not being renewed. The typical Thank you for your service is posted on the Hawks website without offering further details. To many, it was an odd pairing with Pellerin, two individuals who, to many, have a different coaching style. The belief by many is once Mike Johnston gives way behind the bench, Kyle Gustafson would be the likely choice for succession. Kyle has been surrounding the Hawks for decades and employs a similar coaching style. Also listed was that the Hawks would begin a search for a new Assistant Coach. Some teams work with 2, but the Hawks seem to want three. 

With Josh Mori being traded to Edmonton for a bantam pick earlier, the Hawks made a deal with the Brandon Wheat Kings. In exchange for Marcus Nguyen, Brandon gave the rights to the 2008-born Reed Brown. Brown, selected sixth overall in the US Priority draft in 2023, has yet to sign with the Hawks, but the track record of Portland finding players not yet signed and bringing them to their program is incredibly high. Brown has been playing for Okanagan Hockey Academy Colorado 15U AAA program, where he was a prolific scorer with 34 goals in 48 games. 

Gabe Klassen, who can’t return to the Hawks as he has aged out, signed with the AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Pittsburgh’s farm team. 

The Hawks will look at other players in the next couple of months to move and see if they are returning to the fold from NHL squads. There are some question marks as to a couple of other players still on the bubble as to being able to go to the next level. Much will take place in the next couple of months with Summer, Rookie, and Traverse Tournament camps that will determine if these players will sign with a parent club, secondary club, or other. 

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About Stuart Kemp 364 Articles
Stuart Kemp is the Immediate Past President of 15 years of the Booster Club. and has been following hockey from his native Canada since he can remember, though he can't skate, but played road hockey for several years. Loving hockey and professional wrestling, he has traveled to most of the WHL cities and with wrestling, has seen four provinces and five states. It is true that every Canadian city with more than 500 residents has a hockey rink, well at least it looks that way. Stuart has had his hand in every facet of independent Professional wrestling as he debuted as an announcer in 1986 which started his career.

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