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LANGLEY, British Columbia – The defending BCIHL champion Trinity Western men’s hockey team will open its preseason schedule with the second annual Captains Cup, starting Saturday (7 p.m.) with a game against Simon Fraser at George Preston Arena.

This is the second year in a row the Spartans will play the SFU and UBC in the Captains Cup, which features a round robin style event, with the top team capturing the tournament title and an historic championship trophy. TWU will take on UBC Sept. 22 in the final contest of the three-game tournament at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, while UBC host SFU Sept. 21.

The preseason tournament will kick off the Spartans 2018-19 campaign, which will see the Spartan open their BCIHL title defence on home ice, when the Spartans host Vancouver Island University in a two-game weekend series Oct. 5-6.

The Spartans, who captured their first-ever BCIHL championship last season, will once again play a regular season schedule featuring the bulk of their home games early on in the year. TWU will play nine of its 12 home games by Jan. 11, before finishing the season with just three home games over its final 12 outings. A rematch of last year’s BCIHL championship series is set for Oct. 26, when the Selkirk Saints visit the Langley Events Centre.

With the Eastern Washington University withdrawing from the BCIHL, the 2018-19 schedule has the Spartans playing the other four teams in the league six times each for a 24-game regular season.

This year’s Spartans schedule also includes an exhibition trip to play NCAA Div. I hockey powerhouse University of Minnesota Gophers (Oct. 20) along with NCAA Div. III Hamline University (Oct. 19).

The Gophers, who have won five NCAA Div. I national championships in their illustrious history, were ranked No. 18 ( in last year’s final rankings. In their game against Hamline, the Spartans will play in the Pipers TRIA Rink, which is the main practice facility for the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and located on the fifth floor of an old Macy’s building. This will be TWU’s third exhibition trip to the United States, having played NCAA Div. I opponents St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Mankato in 2014-15 and Wisconsin and Nebraska-Omaha in 2015-16.

The Spartans are scheduled to play Kazakhstan’s national junior team in an exhibition tilt in December, as the visiting Kazakhs prepare for the World Junior Championships in Vancouver and Victoria.

About the Captains Cup
The preseason tournament started in the fall of 2017 with UBC taking the inaugural title. The goal of the Captains Cup is to promote university hockey in the Lower Mainland, while also raising awareness for the WHL's Scholarship Program, which is available for players entering into post-secondary hockey. The tournament champion will be awarded an historic trophy – the Canada Pacific Exhibition President's Trophy – that has been in the BC Sports Hall of Fame since 2010. The trophy was previously awarded to the MVP of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey League from 1941 to 1947.

About TWU
Recognized for quality, TWU has received seven consecutive A+ rankings for Quality of Teaching and Learning, holds three Canada Research Chairs, and wins national championships in CIS sports. More importantly, lives are changed at TWU through its whole-person, Christ-centred approach to education. With a wide array of undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree-completion programs, TWU equips leaders of character and competence to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

About Spartan Athletics
As official members of U SPORTS, the Spartans currently compete in 10 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track & field. TWU also competes in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) in men’s hockey. Since TWU entered U SPORTS in 1999, the Spartans have won 11 U SPORTS team championships and 25 Canada West team championships.