Raiders road game on Oct. 2 to be broadcast nationally on CBC

Photo Courtesy of Keith Hershmiller/WHL Regina Pats forward Drew Englot, left, and Prince Albert Raiders blueliner Remy Aquilon battle for position during a game at the Brandt Centre.

The Prince Albert Raiders will be involved in the first game of the Canadian Hockey League’s new television deal.

The CHL announced on Thursday morning that the Raiders’ opening road game of the 2021-22 campaign against the Regina Pats will air nationally on CBC at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2.

“We are very excited to drop the puck on Saturday afternoons during the 2021-22 season with the CBC,” CHL President Dan MacKenzie said in a prepared statement.

“Their iconic position in Canadian hockey combined with the CHL’s role as the top development league in the world will make for a winning partnership.”

With the game now airing on television, the start time for the Pats home opener has now been bumped up from its original 7 p.m. slot.

The two teams will kick off their 2021-22 slates on Friday, Oct. 1 at the Art Hauser Centre.

That game will mark the first time the Raiders have played a nationally televised contest since their final round-robin matchup at the 2019 Memorial Cup in Halifax, where they lost a 5-2 affair to the OHL’s Guelph Storm.

In addition to the Raiders/Pats game, five other CHL matchups will also air on CBC during the first two months of the season:

  • Saturday, Oct. 9: Rouyn-Noranda Huskies vs. Shawinigan Cataractes – 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 16: Calgary Hitmen vs. Red Deer Rebels – 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 23: Ottawa 67’s vs. Barrie Colts – 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6: Saint John Sea Dogs vs. Drummondville Voltigeurs – 1 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 13: Mississauga Steelheads vs. Kingston Frontenacs – 2 p.m.

The official broadcast teams for the new CHL media package, which will also include TSN, have yet to be announced.

Around the CHL

Two first round picks in the 2020 Ontario Hockey League have had their rights dealt over the last week.

On Friday, the Niagara IceDogs acquired forward Aidan Castle, who was the 13th overall pick last year, from the Oshawa Generals in exchange for four draft picks.

Castle, who signed with the IceDogs on Saturday, had 31 points in 34 games during the 2019-20 season for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens Under-16 program.

He was a linemate of Pano Fimis, who was taken second overall by Niagara in 2020 and is considered to be a potential first or second round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

Meanwhile, the North Bay Battalion now has the rights to forward Adam Fantilli after dealing a sixth round pick in 2022 and four conditional picks to the Saginaw Spirit on Monday.

The four conditional picks would move to the Spirit if Fantilli were to ever suit up for the Battalion.

“Adam is an exceptional player and one whom most in the hockey world would know about by now,” Battalion general manager Adam Dennis said in a prepared statement.”

Fantilli was widely considered to be the best player available in the 2020 OHL Draft, but he was expected to take the NCAA route for his development at the time.

As a result, the Battalion picked blueliner Ty Nelson with the top pick and Fantilli fell to the Spirit, who had the 18th overall selection.

Fantilli, who is considered to be one of the top prospects for the 2023 NHL Draft along with Connor Bedard of the Regina Pats and Matvei Michkov of SKA St. Petersburg, had 36 points in 49 games last year for the USHL’s Chicago Steel and earned playoff MVP honours after posting nine points in eight games.

He is expected to join the Michigan Wolverines next fall, where he will be teammates with his older brother Luca.