Book an early spot on Smokies bandwagon

Dave Thompson, Trail Times columnist, talks Trail Smoke Eaters' season opener, reminds readers next game Saturday against Merritt.

We weren’t a full period into last Saturday’s home opener before most people at Cominco Arena were mumbling, “Same old, same old,” while watching the West Kelowna Warriors, as they have seemingly since they came into the division a decade ago, forecheck fiercely and hem the Smoke Eaters in their own end.

By the end of the first, from which the Smokies were able to escape down only one goal the 15-7 shots on goal count understated the dominance of the Warriors I’m guessing most of the people were already consigning this Trail roster, and themselves, to another dreary season.

And then, the second period began and the Smokies immediately turned things around. Trail began to pressure West Kelowna all over the ice and piled up chances and goals. Despite having only one power play in the period, the Smokies earned 18 shots, four goals, and a lot of respect from both their opponents and their fans.

That kept up the rest of the way, except for a brief (less than a minute) letdown by Trail when the game was already pretty much won, during which the Warriors got two goals (and scared often let down lately Smokie fans for a bit).

I and many others left the building more hopeful than we have been in a while that the Smokies can compete in the Interior Division. After all, West Kelowna is the defending league, Western Canadian and National Junior A champion and returned a half dozen of its better players from a year ago.

It was, of course, just one game, but, the Smokies spent many minutes running absolutely roughshod over a team that has dominated it for most of a decade, scored two goals on the power play while snuffing out five Warrior extra man situations, and once they got going, never backed down nor looked as if they needed to.

So, the last home game of this month goes Saturday night at 7, with Merritt in town. The Centennials had a stellar pre-season and got a point from their only game last week away with Prince George so are not likely to be an easy opponent.

Getting past nemesis West Kelowna was a big step for Trail, however, and bodes well. This weekend’s back-to-back with Merritt will provide more information to fans hoping for post season action, and will give an indication if Saturday’s eventual home barn dominance was a sign of things to come.

A little early for a bandwagon, but, just in case, you might want to get into position to jump on by showing up at Cominco Arena tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the unbeaten Nitehawks host long-time, fierce, rival Castlegar tonight, if you feel the need for some fast-paced entertainment.

Just Posted

The Fruitvale community garden is located on Beaver Street across from the municipal office. Photo: Submitted
Harvest Central Community Garden opens in Fruitvale

A growing opportunity for all Beaver Valley residents, from kindergarten and upwards

TELUS is proposing to construct a 5G tower at Pople Park. Photo: Sheri Regnier
First 5G tower in Trail proposed for placement in popular park

TELUS has a consultation process open until June 28

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

The Independent Investigations Office of BC is looking into a Castlegar incident. File photo
Police watchdog investigating Castlegar incident

IIO: Woman sustained a reportedly self-inflicted injury

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Most Read