Sports ‘n’ Things: Smokies playoff hopes fading

"Sad to say there is virtually no chance the Smokies will pick up that long sought playoff berth this season."

Sad to say there is virtually no chance the Smokies will pick up that long sought playoff berth this season. Doubly sad because heading toward the trade deadline the team looked more than capable of making a run at the top four and expectations, including mine, at the end of December were rising that just that scenario would occurr.

All that said, Trail has provided, until last weekend at least, top dollar competitive hockey for local fans at relatively rock bottom prices.

There can still be some of that, at even lower rates if you know someone who holds many of the unused tickets from season and multi-game pass sets. Grab a group, grab some of the available tickets, and take in the last few games. The standings are a disappointment but most nights the entertainment value is not.

Free, or discounted, tickets will free up cash to participate in the various draws available (and unlike BCLC winners, you will not have to run through a maze to collect your bounty), and partake of the delicacies available at the Spud and Sud shacks. All in a good cause with usually high tempo, entertaining hockey for dessert.

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Meanwhile, the KIJHL is rolling to a close and all the Kootenay Boundary franchises will be taking part in the playoff rounds. And, although the 16 playoff participants have long been decided for this season, their could still be some drama over the closing 10 days of the junior B season.

Two of the four divisions have declared their winners. Every other team involved can still play the standings shuffle game – in the Neil Murdoch division Nelson still has a decent chance of reeling in Grand Forks for a spot in the 2-3 series and there is still the possibility, albeit slim, that Castlegar could use their final mano-a-mano tilt with the Nitehawks to corral the division crown.

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Both the Nitehawks and Smoke Eaters are away this weekend, drat those schedulers, but both close the season on home ice, so still a little regular season play to be enjoyed at both local rinks.

Given the weather forecast it is likely golf courses will be opening early in March, but while you still have time on your hands you should think about spending it at your local arenas, in support of your local teams – both the rosters and the volunteers who keep the enterprises going – and enjoying the sports entertainment available right here in the Home of Champions.