Forget NHL, support local teams

"... I hope that fans will spend their hockey-designated money and time on the minor and junior teams."

The NHL is almost back, and as per usual Canadians are being inundated with blather about the state of the, “best,” franchise in Canada, the sad sack Toronto Maple Leafs, who – aided and abetted by our national and local media – apparently believe bad publicity is better than none.

Even more reason to ignore the whole business.

• Hard to ignore the Smoke Eaters, even though it is so frustrating at times to pay attention. Wednesday night, for the second time in a month, Trail gave up an early 0-3 deficit in front of Adam Todd and rallied to win the game and pick up two desperately needed standings points.

The win means the team has the opportunity to climb back into a solid playoff position with good play over the next 10 days.

Trail must pass Salmon Arm in the standings, at least, to get to the post-season.

The chance is here, right now, for that to happen. Trail plays the Silverbacks three times in the next week-plus – twice, beginning tonight, at Cominco Arena – and realistically needs a sweep of those games to overcome the games-in-hand the rebuilt and resurgent Salmon Arm squad possesses.

The Silverbacks, of course, will be well aware of the situation – expect intensity.

The Smokies also host West Kelowna Saturday and the points from that game would also be helpful.

Given that the Smokies made their charge in Vernon while missing the services of their top two scorers and are supposed soon to have both back, the talent is there to meet the challenge the club faces.

It is a hopeful sign that the tying and winning goals Wednesday were scored by an Affiliate Player with lots of call-up space remaining and that Todd turned back the last 14 shots he faced after surrendering four goals from the first 18.

Trail are still a long shot for the playoff round and the big question is – will the Smokies that swarmed Vernon in the last period Wednesday be there from the first puck drop of future games?

You’ll have to get out to the games to see. I guarantee you will be less unhappy with the experience, regardless of the score, than you have been with the NHL-NHLPA performance of the past five months.

• Not looking forward to the loss of live coverage of other events, particularly European soccer, that will likely follow the return of the Americanized, “Canada’s Game,” in the near future. Some of that coverage, at least, is likely to be replaced by the bilious babbling bozos who cover the NHL in all its lack of glory.

I wish that the big boys of hockey had just stayed away and learned a real lesson and I hope that fans will spend their hockey-designated money and time on the minor and junior teams that have been playing their hearts out in local arenas all along.

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