Sports ‘n’ Things – Smoke Eaters: crucial game on horizon

"...there were hours of entertainment available to anyone who showed up at any time during the weekend."

If you think of yourself as a hockey fan, but missed the past weekend at Cominco Arena, you missed out on probably the most exciting sports action of the year to date in the Home of Champions.

Between the explosive parity of the Bantam tournament and the Smoke Eaters two huge wins, there were hours of entertainment available to anyone who showed up at any time during the weekend.

The Smokie games were, as old timers used to say, barn burners. Both were tied in the middle of the third period and both were won with outstanding individual efforts compounding the effects of strong goaltending and high energy play from everybody on the ice. Nicely enough both ended in Trail wins.

The only negative was back to back, no doubt anti-homer, officiating outings, (how a head coach could not read that, and remain civil – or better yet just keep quiet – is beyond me) but the Smokies overcoming that just made it sweeter for the mostly-usual crowd of supporters in the rink

It would have been even better, from the Smoke Eaters’ viewpoint, if there had been more fans leaving the building energized and planning to come back.

The team cannot capitalize immediately on the buzz it created, being on the road again this weekend, but will be hoping some of that excitement, and more from bringing some points back from their year’s longest bus trip, will remain when they hit the ice Wednesday against the team they are chasing for a playoff spot.

However the road trip goes, Wednesday’s game against the Vernon Vipers is a huge moment in this season. Trail will have three games in hand on the Vipers when the two meet Wednesday, and a win will likely move them within close reach of fourth place while maintaining that extra games opportunity.

So, big, important deal, that Wednesday game. You should go.

I like the fact the Smokies are pushing hard for turnout for the game, offering bargains galore along the way, but, I am not sure naming your opponent in your advertising is good sports psychology.

Vernon has a tough two-game weekend coming up, and are coming off a loss Wednesday, so providing an, “Oh, yeah,” locker room motivator, in the form of pin-up ads, may not be the soundest strategy.

I expect extremely high energy from both teams, and perhaps a boosted crowd, so the building will be alive. It could and should offer the best entertainment value of the year for sports fans. See you there.

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