Northern Bears schedule released

Daily Herald File Photo Miranda Heidt and Ashley Messier battle for the puck during a game between the Prince Albert Northern Bears and the Saskatoon Stars at the Art Hauser Centre last season.

2020 Esso Cup hosts to open campaign at home against Saskatoon on Sept. 29

The Prince Albert Northern Bears now know what lies ahead of them as they gear up to host the 2020 Esso Cup.

The quest for a national female midget AAA title will begin at the Art Hauser Centre on Sunday, Sept. 29 as the  Bears will play host to the two-time defending league champion  Saskatoon Stars in their opening game of the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League season.

The full schedule for the 2019-20 campaign, which was released this weekend, will see the Bears play 30 games

Each team had 28 games on their regular season slate last year but that was increased by two due to the league dropping to seven teams as the Melville Prairie Fire were moved down to the Midget AA ranks.

The Bears longest homestand of the season will be a four-game stretch in November, as they’ll host the Battlefords Sharks on Nov. 15 and 16 before they entertain the Notre Dame Hounds on Nov. 23 and 24.

That will be followed up two weekends away from Prince Albert for the team, as they’ll visit the Hounds in Wilcox on Nov. 29, the Regina Rebels on Nov. 30 and the Stars on Dec. 14 and 15 in Saskatoon.

The Bears will also have to back-to-back road trips in the second half of the season as they’ll return to Wilcox for a Feb. 15 and 16 meeting with the Hounds before a Feb. 29 and March 1 clash with the Sharks.

The Bears will also have a pair of weekends that will see them play three straight games against an opponent.

Their first trifecta will be on the road against the Weyburn Gold Wings from Nov. 8-10, with a three-game homestand against the Swift Current Wildcats taking place at the Art Hauser Centre from Jan. 3-5.

Their regular season slate will conclude at home against the Stars on March 7-8.

All seven teams in the SFMAAAHL will make the league playoffs, which will see each round now only lasting three games after they were best-of-five affairs last year.

Before the regular season begins, the Bears will travel to Calgary to take part in the Icebreaker Tournament from Sept. 12-15.

In other news, the team is currently looking for a manager for the 2019-20 season.

Those who are interested can send a resume or any questions to the Bears via email at panorthernbears@gmail.com ahead of the job’s closing date of July 12.