Fri Aug 31

SILVERTIPS’ PRE-SEASON TOURNAMENT KICKS OFF – The 2012 WHL Exhibition season continues on Friday with four games on the schedule, including the first two games of the Everett Silvertips’ annual pre-season tournament.

In Everett, WA, the Seattle Thunderbirds take on the Portland Winterhawks for an afternoon tilt to open the Everett tournament, which features all five U.S. Division clubs.

The Winterhawks posted a 49-19-3-1 record last season and made a second consecutive appearance in the WHL Championship Series, losing to the Edmonton Oil Kings.  The Thunderbirds managed a 25-45-1-1 record in 2011-12 while finishing in ninth place in the Western Conference and missing the WHL playoffs.

Also in Everett, the host Silvertips take on the Tri-City Americans in the tournament’s other contest on Friday.

The Americans are coming off their fourth U.S. Division title in five season, having posted a 50-18-2-2 record during the 2011-12 regular season.  The Silvertips posted a 22-40-2-8 record last season for an eighth-place finish in the Western Conference.

Elsewhere in WHL pre-season action on Friday, the Vancouver Giants host the Kelowna Rockets at Ladner, B.C., to open both teams’ pre-season schedules.

The Giants were 40-26-2-4 during the 2011-12 regular season, good enough for a fourth-place finish in the Western Conference.  The Rockets skated to a 31-31-4-6 record last season, putting them in third place in the B.C. Division and sixth place in the Western Conference.

In Victoria, B.C., the Victoria Royals (0-1-0-0) take on the Kamloops Blazers (1-0-0-0) for the back half of a home-and-home series to open both teams’ exhibition seasons.

The Blazers pulled off a 4-2 win over the visiting Royals on Thursday night in Kamloops.  Colin Smith netted a goal and an assist as the Blazers outshot the visiting Royals 44-23 in the contest.  The Royals got both of their goals from 15-year-old Tyler Soy, who was the first of two first-round picks for the team in the 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.

The 2012-13 WHL Regular Season begins on Thursday, September 20th, with the defending WHL Champion Edmonton Oil Kings hosting the Kootenay Ice.