Smokies team-building on tap

Soon, Trail-bound types will be able to get out of the heat and into the rink to watch the Smokies build their team for the coming season

In less than a week, Trail-bound types will be able to get out of the heat and into the rink to watch the Smoke Eaters build their team for the coming season, which is just over two weeks from its start.

Everybody is hopeful at this time of the year, but Trail fans have a little more reason to be hopeful than has been the case in the recent past. The roster from last year lost few members, and several promising young players will have a season under their belts.

And, the Smokies played pretty well down the stretch, against some of the league’s stronger clubs, before bowing out of the playoff hunt.

The camp runs from Tuesday through Saturday, followed by, on the next Tuesday, the lone pre-season game at Cominico Arena for this year.

That game, exhibition as it is, could prove interesting. The Selkirk Saints, after stocking up on some players with pretty good Junior A credentials, dominated their collegiate league in record style last season and can be expected to be a tough opponent for the younger Smokies.

The Saints, like the Smokies, will be looking to round into shape for their season.

As the Smokies’ roster will be basically set, we should see at least a little of what promise it contains, especially against a generally older, more experienced side such as the Saints.

I suppose we can ignore the portentousness of Trail’s first regular season home game being scheduled for Friday the 13th.

• Funny how quickly the, “scandal,” of Russia’s new anti-civil liberties laws has died down in the media. After a week of hand-wringing around the world and a basic shrug from the IOC, there have been few headlines carrying forward concerns about the Sochi Games.legitimizing gay and gay supporter bashing.

It is, as I have long suggested, solely about the money.

• There has been a bit of vindication this week for Jim Maniago and those of us who keep saying the Trail Orioles bring very good baseball to Butler Park in the summer season.

The Seattle Studs, who did not even win the Pacific International League, in which the Orioles compete, were just crowned Senior Amateur champions of the U.S.

You should plan to get out to the ball park next season, maybe even help out with the games or the provincial championships scheduled there.