SPORTS N’ THINGS: Early promise for Smokies

"A quick look at the BCHL website shows the Smoke Eaters in an unusual position heading towards the 2014-15 season."

A quick look at the BCHL website (maybe it is the temperature, but it feels like hockey will be coming soon) shows the Smoke Eaters in an unusual position heading towards the 2014-15 season.

Six current Smoke Eaters have committed to scholarship offers already, and that is second among league teams only to the Penticton Vees. Nobody’s roster is finalized yet, by a long shot, but having that number of players already coveted by NCAA scouting staffs does seem to indicate recruiting has gone well for Trail.

It has almost always, of course, indicated that when the Vees are involved.

Not every player who gets scholarship attention goes on to be a superstar at the NCAA or even Junior A level, but that attention from around college hockey is usually a good indicator of quality talent and attitude.

When a third of your roster (to date) is that highly regarded by knowledgeable outsiders, who have jobs on the line when making these choices, it should bode well for the results that roster will produce.

Time, of course, will tell, BUT, if you have been pondering the wisdom of renewing your season or group ticket package after a couple of seasons of relatively poor results for the Smokies, the level of commitment in evidence should make for a positive response to your quandary.

Trail needs a playoff-quality year, perhaps even to survive as a franchise much longer. Things may be looking up in that regard.

The Smoke Eaters also could use some help concerning results off the ice – in other words they need a lot more volunteers willing to show up at least some of the time and man information tables and food, suds and souvenir sales spots, plus raffles, security and general dogsbody chores.

No scholarships for those jobs, although for students such civic service involvement never hurts an application. There is, also, satisfaction in being part of an organization that contributes greatly to the community and its image.

Could be a good year, competition-wise. Might be nice to be part of that.

Almost two months until the season begins at Cominco Arena, so you have time to figure out

• The baseball at Butler last weekend was as (here) advertised. Close, well-played competition until the last couple of innings of game four in a series the Orioles should have split instead of going 1-3. Good weather, great park, good concession service.

We are glad we took most of it in.

Not long at all until the senior provincials hit town.