Sports ‘n’ Things: A fond farewell to 2014

"...the passing year provided many good moments, some not-so-good, but if you are reading this, at least you survived it."

2014 began on a bright note when Jason Bay became just the sixth person enshrined on Baseball Canada’s Wall of Excellence. Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, Ernie Whitt and Ryan Dempster are Bay’s outstanding company on that wall, to be joined by big splash Blue Jays’ off-season signee Russell Martin next week.

One significant final tip of the hat to the Trail kid who did us proud on diamonds around North America.

The rest of the passing year provided many good moments, some not-so-good, but if you are reading this, at least you survived it.

•I don’t know as I compose this how the Smoke Eaters ended 2014, as the result from West Kelowna is pending. I do know it was really nice to see Trail get some balanced scoring in a must-have win in their first game back from the holiday break.

I know, too, that that has to continue on the road for the Smokies to have any chance to climb into a playoff position in probably the toughest division in Junior A hockey.

It is really too bad, after sending fans home with smiles on their faces for the first time in a while – since back-to-back wins at Cominco Arena in mid-November in fact – that it will be two weeks before Trail has another home game.  Here’s hoping they can scare up some on-the-road standings points between now and then so fans can be hopeful when next Trail hits home ice January 9.

Been a positive week for Trail in a very important aspect of the BCHL. The latest two scholarship commitments bring the number of college-bound Smoke Eaters on the current roster to nine. That is second only to Penticton in the league and, despite the standings, means the Smokies have been doing good work this season.

• The Nitehawks, meanwhile, extended their current winning streak to seven, including four straight at home, and are also playing after this is submitted.

For the Nitehawks, if they can finish strongly in the current three-games-in-three days scheduling blitz against their main division rivals, the future looks very bright.  To begin 2015, Beaver Valley has a string of games against relative KIJHL lightweights during •

Nice for local hockey fans is the general anomaly (going by past calendars) of a friendly schedule for Home of Champions teams. Trail and Beaver Valley will play seven home games in the first three weeks of 2015 without a single scheduling overlap – which means, of course, that supporters of both teams will not have to decide between the two on game nights. Well done, schedulers.

Well done to the KIJHL on another front, too. Finally, when you are on the league’s web site and click, “schedule,” the schedule actually pops right up. Cool.

• The roads are not in the abysmal condition they were this past weekend, but they are still icy and potentially dangerous.

You made it this far, please be careful and make it into 2015. Don’t push, don’t prod – stopping is hard around now, every year. Remember the old adage, “It is easier to stay out than get out,” as it applies to ditches and hospitals.