By Liv Phillips
Catlin Gabel School, Catlin Speak
Portland’s premier professional junior league hockey team, the Winterhawks, will face long time rivals, Seattle Thunderbirds, at 7 p.m. today for their opening night.
The Hawks have won four conference titles since 2011 and have trumped the league with more wins and more points than a majority of other Western Hockey League teams.
The Winterhawks are part of the western affiliate of the Canadian Hockey League, which is a professional junior league for hockey players aged 16 to 20. Players come from across the United States, Canada and Europe to play in this league.
This year the Winterhawks managing staff will be shaken up with a new head coach and assistant coach after Head Coach Mike Johnson went to the professional league to coach the Pittsburgh Penguins.
New head coach, Jamie Kopon, was an assistant coach to the National Hockey League (NHL) powerhouse team, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Winterhawks also added a new assistant coach, Keith McKittrick, who came from the NHL team, the Detroit Redwings .
Strong players, such as Oliver Bjorkstrand, Nick Petan and Paul Bittner will be returning for the season.
Many players will not be there for opening night due to NHL camps, but they will return in the coming weeks.
For more information about tickets and the Portland Winterhawks visit their site here