Smoke Eater: Looking forward to moving forward

Only one week until the New Era begins, writes columnist Dave Thompson

Only one week until the New Era begins. Even though the Smoke Eaters website says there are no events scheduled, the BCHL regular season begins at Cominco Arena (and sundry other places) in seven days.

Am I asking too much of the Internet? I have yet to find results of the exhibition games (four, just in Wenatchee, apparently) or even a tentative roster for the 2017/18 New Era Smoke Eaters, despite seeking that information in the usual places. I am not on Twitter, or Instagram, although I checked Twitter and found no tweets about the Wenatchee events other than one from a proud mom.

It may be that websites are passe, and the world is just passing me by, but if I did not get word of mouth from some, “relative,” insiders, and Trail Times reports, I would be as in the dark as anyone about recent events, player movements, game events, or anything but the coming regular season schedule – from the BCHL link.

Regardless, I will be making every effort to check out the latest edition of the Orange and Black next Friday – 7 p.m. is now the start time for Friday games. Looking forward to having a professionally procured and operated video board, even though I will have to leave, “my spot,” to view it.

Looking forward, too, to checking out the development of the team’s on-ice performance. 2016/17 was a season with promise, and a bit of a playoff run. The playoff run was fuelled mostly by people no longer on the roster, however, so even though there are a fair number of returnees for this season, development is needed.

I expect the building to be louder – more in keeping with the spectacle required by less knowledgeable fans in other cities – and more crowded, as is needed for the franchise. I hope the team’s results include even a small improvement, albeit in a tougher division, because even a small improvement would get it over the hump from standings stress to playoff contender.

It will be, too, new ownership versus new ownership to open the season. West Kelowna was very near the brink of losing the Warriors this spring before the club finally attracted a buyer – much more dire straits than even the Smoke Eaters. That will play into desperation behind the bench and maybe on the ice.

A home-ice win over West Kelowna kick-started a surge into respectability in the first game at Cominco Arena last season. Another may get us under way to a longer road.

See you there.