SPORTS N’ THINGS: Hope springs eternal as Smokies’ season nears

Given their efforts in the off-season, I am really, really hopeful about the Smoke Eaters this season.

Given their efforts in the off-season, I am really, really hopeful about the Smoke Eaters this season.

The team has re-tooled extensively, has five (so-far) quality local players and a healthy quality goaltender, and seems to have outdone itself in terms of conditioning and community outreach.

Trail also already has a very high eight scholarship commits on its roster. second only to the perennialy competitive Penticton Vees.

That all augurs well. We just need to see a strong start to the regular season to get wishy-washy so-called fans onto the bandwagon.

Aye, there’s the rub. We haven’t seen, yet, what the start of regular-season pressure will bring out of this very new roster.  The season, as the pre-season, begins with home games played on the road. That situation can be good for team cohesion, but only if Trail has some success along the way.

The club, heading into a new season with a new team and a new regime, will be well served by some early evidence it is well along the right path to reverse recent years of under-achieving as far as standings are concerned.

Trail could begin slowly, gell, and go on a tear, but the amount of work they have put in may actually need some early success to build confidence in the team, system and staff.

It seems as if everything has been done to that end, so, as I said, I am really, really hopeful.

Trail’s only Cominco Arena pre-season game is Sept. 13, against the Selkirk Saints (as good a college team as there is in B.C.). You could, of course, make the short drive to Castlegar to see the two squads in action the previous night.

Please make an effort to get to Cominco Arena for the Sept. 26-27 weekend. In a make-or-(perhaps) break year, the Smokies have gone all out. We should, too.

*****

The Special Olympics fundraiser at Butler Park Wednesday seems to have met all its aims – it showcased the new Smoke Eaters, provided entertainment and must have raised a fair amount of money – given the size of the crowd and the 50-50    draw.

I am sure the local protection services team was not expecting the kids to give them such a run (30-29), but it kept a decent crowd in their seats for two hours.

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