Dan Elliott

The Vancouver Giants are set for their final home stand prior to the Christmas break this weekend when they take on the Portland Winterhawks Friday night and the Lethbridge Hurricanes Saturday night.

It will be the first action for the Giants since their successful Eastern Division road swing in which they finished 4-1-1-0. The Giants are now 19-10-1-1 on the season, having won 10 of their last 13 games, and currently sit in 2nd place in the BC Division, 3 points back of Kamloops, and 4th in the Western Conference.


The Giants kickoff the weekend Friday night at 7:00 pm vs. the defending Western Conference Champions, the Portland Winterhawks. It will mark the first of nine games that head coach Don Hay will miss due to his commitments to Hockey Canada and the World Junior Championships. Assistant coach Glen Hanlon will take over behind the bench and he will face a tough test right away. The Winterhawks are 20-9-2-1 on the year and sit in 2nd place in the US Division and 3rd in the Western Conference. They are coming off a split in Prince George on Tuesday and Wednesday night; however, they have won 12 of their last 15 games. The Winterhawks boast 8 NHL draft picks including 2011 2nd round pick Ty Rattie who is the hottest player in the league right now with 21 goals, 15 assists, and 36 points in his last 15 games. The Giants did not have any success vs. the Winterhawks last season, losing all 4 meetings, but all-time the Giants are 26-18-2-0 and 2 ties against Portland. It will be the first of four meetings this season between the Giants and Winterhawks.

Friday is also a big night for charity. It is the Giants annual Teddy Bear Toss night brought to you by your BC Honda Dealers. For the 8th straight year the Giants are asking fans to bring a stuffed animal, or buy one at the game, and when the Giants score their first goal, throw all the stuffed toys on the ice. All proceeds from the bear sales and the bears themselves will go to the CKNW Orphans’ Fund, the Province Empty Stocking Fund, and the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau.

On Saturday night the Giants play host to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the first of two meetings this season. The Hurricanes are in the process of turning things around after starting the season with just 3 wins in 22 games, including a stretch of 13 straight losses. Coming into Saturday’s game, Lethbridge has won 7 of their last 10 games and are now 10-21-0-1 on the season and sit in 6th place in the Central Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Giants are 17-5-0-0 with 2 ties all-time vs. the Hurricanes and have won 12 straight over Lethbridge. Vancouver hasn’t lost to the Hurricanes since December 28, 2004.

Saturday is ‘Fill The Rink On Renfrew’ in support of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. Sponsored by Chevron and Campbells, the Giants are asking all fans to bring a non-perishable food item or a baby item to donate at this time of need for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.