Sports ‘n’ Things: Smoke Eaters happy to be home

"The Smokies just beat Wenatchee, so we assume they have a chance to compete in that game."

Not enjoying this mucky early winter. The snow, what little we have had, becomes difficult to move before it finishes falling, even warmer weather is so damp it is uncomfortable, and we have little hope of a good snow pack – either on local ski hills by Christmas or accumulating by spring to create a reservoir of moisture to help avoid summer drought.

The current reality of climate change is not to my liking, at all.

Meanwhile, however, winter activities requiring artificial ice are at least at full bore.

The Smoke Eaters, who appear alternately hopeless and hope-providing, are in town this weekend for their only two home games in a calendar month. A good weekend (three or four points) will keep their playoff hopes alive-given they have games in hand amounting, if optimized, to the ability to catch the fourth place Vernon Vipers.

Trail will be back on the road again soon after (the schedule likely could not be worse for the big 50-50 raffle they are running) and their financial hopes for the first half could hang on them producing enough points in the next 10 days for fans to remain hopeful, turn out at home games and buy, among other things, those raffle tickets.

A positive feature of December is that Trail and Beaver Valley have no scheduling conflicts the rest of 2015. That may, and should, mean that both clubs, without local competition, should see improved box office numbers into the new year.

The Smokies just beat Wenatchee, so we assume they have a chance to compete in that game. Alberni Valley is as lowly a side, standings-wise, as Trail, and coming in off a long bus ride, so the Smoke Eaters should have a chance there, too.

We have seen the Smokies produce quality play, so there’s that. As it always seems to, it will come down to Trail beginning well (not falling behind early, as has been their habit of late) and carrying that energy throughout the game.

If the Smokies play their best, they can take the points from this weekend, put some pressure on Vernon and head to out on their longest road trip of the season hopeful and energized.

If.

All things being equal, I will be there, watching hopefully, this weekend.

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