What We’re Watching – February 3, 2023

Brian Liesse

Welcome to February, where the stretch run to the 2023 WHL Playoffs begins in earnest. A total of 25 games are on tap across the WHL this weekend, with plenty of promise, and plenty of intrigue in store.

Here’s What We’re Watching this weekend!

The 2023 WHL Playoffs won’t begin until the end of March, but two teams could book their place in the post-season Friday night. The Portland Winterhawks open a home-and-home set at Tri-City Friday (7:05 p.m. PT, Toyota Center) and can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Victoria Royals loss, or an OT / shootout loss and a Royals regulation defeat at Prince George. Meanwhile, the Seattle Thunderbirds can inch one step closer to defending their Western Conference Championship Friday. A win versus Everett (7:05 p.m. PT, accesso ShoWare Center) combined with a Victoria regulation loss will see the T-Birds secure a post-season berth.

The Calgary Hitmen host the Edmonton Oil Kings Saturday afternoon for the Club’s third annual Every Child Matters game (2:00 p.m. MT, Scotiabank Saddledome). The Hitmen will wear orange Every Child Matters jerseys for the contest, presented in concert with Siksika Health Services as well as presenting sponsors: Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary, the Blackfoot Confederacy, First Nations Health Consortium, and Siksika Family Services. The Every Child Matters game is part of a much larger movement of the same name, and is a recognition and commitment to action to ensure that all children know their importance, and to honour those who attended Residential Schools in Canada, their families, and communities.

Connor Bedard’s sold-out tour of Alberta continues Friday night in Lethbridge (7:00 p.m. MT, Enmax Centre), but fans in Medicine Hat will get a treat Sunday afternoon when Bedard, the first-overall selection in the 2020 WHL Prospects Draft, faces off against the first-overall pick from last year, Tigers forward Gavin McKenna. The Yukon product has been recalled by Medicine Hat for a pair of home games this weekend; he leads the CSSHL U18 Prep division with 69 points from 24 games; the 15-year-old has six assists to his name from nine WHL outings with the Tigers.

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