The Peninsula Panthers Junior B hockey team returns to the ice in exhibition play this Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at Panorama’s Arena A, against the Westshore Wolves. (File)

The Peninsula Panthers Junior B hockey team returns to the ice in exhibition play this Friday night at 5:30 p.m. at Panorama’s Arena A, against the Westshore Wolves. (File)

Peninsula Panthers host Westshore in Friday hockey exhibition

Up and comers with the Peninsula Panthers’ Junior B hockey team will likely get the start in Friday afternoon’s first exhibition game of the season.

The club, which plays out of the Panorama Recreation Centre located in North Saanich, is expecting to ice its younger players who have been involved in the Panthers’ development camp. The team has been practicing in the centre’s ‘A’ ice surface, instead of their regular ‘B’ surface, as that rink has been undergoing a complete renovation this spring and summer. The main arena at Panorama is getting a new concrete ice rink, new boards and the rink itself has been reconfigured to provide more team bench space. The penalty boxes and scorers’ booth has been relocated to the west side the arena and the seating area has been changed to accommodate the larger rink area.

Still, the next door ice sheet is still frozen and that’s where the Panthers will host the Westshore Wolves on Fri., Aug. 25 at 5:30 p.m.

The game will feature younger players — some of whom will not be on this year’s roster. But Club Governor and General Manager Pete Zubersky says the team regularly gives those players a taste of junior hockey, as they work their way up through Peninsula Minor Hockey.

The local hockey club earlier this month became the first junior team in western Canada to mandate full face cage protection for all of its players.

Peninsula will travel to Westshore later this month and follow that up with a home and home exhibition series against the Saanich Braves — Sept. 1 in Saanich and back home Sept. 2 for an 8 p.m. game.

The Panthers will start the regular Vancouver island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) season on Sept. 8 on the road to Mill Bay to face the Kerry Park Islanders. Peninsula will start out on the road until their home ice renovations are complete. They have slated their first home game on Fri., Sept. 29, hosting the Victoria Cougars.

— with files from the Peninsula Panthers