Smoke Eaters fighting to finish

"It has been a dispiriting year for Smokie fans, especially coming off a promising end to 2012/13..."

One has to give the Smoke Eaters credit. The team has been in the wilderness, roster-wise, performance-wise and and standings-wise, not to mention audience size-wize, for almost this full season, but they have not quit.

Not what’s left of a once-promising roster, not what’s left of a coaching/training staff – for which fans had high hopes as late as September – not anybody involved in the team through this mega-struggling season.

There is no other way to explain recent on-ice performances, including a relatively successful road swing, in which the Smokies won, lost in overtime, and finally succumbed to regulation defeat, with a diminished number of available troops for every game.

Trail opened the trip with a strong, winning effort against a Surrey Eagles team still well in the hunt for a playoff spot, using 18 skaters. Twenty-four hours later, the Smokies battled one of the top Junior A teams in Canada, which was coming off a full week of rest, into overtime, with 17 skaters.

About 16 hours later, Trail competed to a one-goal deficit after 20 minutes before falling, 7-2, to another contending team, with just 14 skaters, which included only five regular defensemen. They were outshot just 35-30 in that contest.

It all says a lot for the effort put forth, and at least a little for the potential in the young lineup and current coaching regime.

It has been a dispiriting year for Smokie fans, especially coming off a promising end to 2012/13, but next-year country might be a better place. The Smoke Eaters have played entertaining and often competitive hockey in 2014 and everyone involved deserves a little praise for maintaining that kind of effort during a season that was a washout, in terms of contending, long ago.

• I hope you are still switching on to your by-now bookmarked Hobey Baker page and voting for (nothing against Kellen here, but time to be strategic and add to Connor’s much higher total) Connor Jones to move on in the selection stage.

I hope, too, that all of the Trail baseball community, to which the boys have contributed so much time and skill, is in that voting mix.

• No other local games in the mix, so please consider heading to Castlegar, dressed in red and white if you have it, and supporting Castlegar’s Hockeyville pursuit next Saturday.  Giving the fire marshall fits on behalf of bringing the Kootenays its second bit of recognition, and Castlegar a bit of cash for its hockey efforts, could be fun.

Just Posted

U.S. Court upholds Teck ruling

Teck appealed a previous decision that the company must pay $8.25 million in the Tribes’ court costs

Shopping for a new vehicle?

“Something tells me a lot of locals are shopping for new vehicles,” Nutini begins.

Threatened species found nesting at Teck Trail

Canadian data collected from 1968 to 2005 show an 80 per cent decline of the Common Nighthawk

Pitching proportional representation

Advocates say about half of population is aware of referendum

Genesis of a Trail mural

Toews is planning to begin painting the mural next week

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Fresh-faced Flames fend off Canucks 4-1

Vancouver drops second straight NHL exhibition contest

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read