There is a funeral today, starting not long after this hits the streets, for a thoroughly connected Home of Champions stalwart – Larry Brandt.
The obit was long, but obits cannot say everything.
I want to emphasize that Larry had my favourite citizenship trait. He was always willing to do the work to make things happen.
He was the kind of guy, I am certain, that organized shinny and scrub games when he was young. He kept doing it, at competitive and recreational levels, for all his Trail-based sporting life. He was the kind of guy who would make the phone calls, build the schedule, drag and rake the park or shovel the outdoor rink/road, so everybody could play. Down to collecting the fees and organizing and paying up for league, facility and beer cooler contents.
Do the work.
Not super rare around here, but rare enough to celebrate. Lots will remember him as funny and irascible and a good friend. I hope they also remember how much work went into arranging all the places and gatherings where that would happen. Doing the work is important. Larry was always willing to do that. RIP.
• The Smoke Eaters are surprising some people here in River City. I said from the start they might win in six (better that than having to win twice in Merritt’s little barn). They may get it done tonight, but, just in case, be prepared to shout them to victory tomorrow.
More surprising in these BCHL first round playoffs are the Cowichan Valley Capitals, who hold a 3-1 lead on Penticton Vees after a Wednesday shut out in Duncan. CVC seems to be improving, too, as that series goes on. After being outplayed more or less badly in the first two games (outshot in all but one period and overall 79-51 over the two games in Penticton) but winning one, the Capitals evened the stats at home and now are only a win away from what will be, if it happens, the biggest upset in many BCHL playoff seasons.
They are kids, as I strive to remind everyone annually. Stuff, even a 16th seed toppling a third seeded, toughest-division-in-the-league champion, can happen with kids.
• Three of the big four have produced as predicted in the KIJHL. Kimberley, Kelowna and Revelstoke crushed their first round opponents in the Junior B playoffs. All those series were sweeps with the total scoring showing Kimberley (21-6) Kelowna (21-3) and Revelstoke (23-4), utterly dominating their opponents, as expected.
The outlier here was Nelson, which needed a difficult and nerve-wracking comeback to overcome Spokane. Nelson was the least dominant in its division of any division champion, so would be the least surprising of those to experience difficulty against a lower (but less lower) ranked division opponent.
It all might bode well for the Nitehawks, who swept and have had some recuperation time, when they begin division championship play in Nelson tonight.