Trail Times Columnist Dave Thompson

Trail Times Columnist Dave Thompson

Parity at play in first round of KIJHL playoff

Thompson, “It always does surprise me how tense and competitive junior hockey playoffs …”

It shouldn’t, by now, but it always does surprise me how tense and competitive junior hockey playoffs, at least at the amateur A and B levels, which often appear to be blowouts, actually are.

Of 33 games in this year’s KIJHL first round through Wednesday, 15 had one-goal margins, including eight that went into overtime. There have been two sweeps, but given the relative strengths of record among the seedings, the spirit of the teams involved seems amazing.

Not sure if either of the local series, the, “car pool,” division playoffs, ended last night, but the competition has been spirited in the extreme.

That is a good reflection on the organizations, and particularly the kids, involved in the KIJHL, and a good reason fans should be filling arenas this time of the year.

*****

Junior A playdowns begin tonight. It says something about recent years that one of the best Smokie seasons in a decade left them in a relatively distant fourth place in the Interior Division. This has been a generally strong season and the new regime should be congratulated on its success in creating an entertaining product and drawing in fans at double the rare of most previous seasons.

Looking out my window at a new foot of snow being weighted down by rain, I can see weather playing a part in perhaps dampening the turnout for tonight’s Trail-West Kelowna series opener. There may be an opportunity for local transit operators in this burgeoning attendance success. Weather and bad weather driving diffidence among an aging populace could mean, if the attendance trends continue, that scheduling buses aimed at game start and end times would be a winner.

Some more knowledgeable than I will need to do the considering.

Meantime, it doesn’t seem fair that Levi Glassman received no consideration for Rookie of the Year honours. With the best offensive numbers of any first time in the Interior division, all year, many thought he would be a lock for that trophy.

Game time, as always, 7p.m. Go early, especially if you have yet to purchase a ticket.