Trail Smoke Eaters wrap up quarantine, ready for spring season

“But we’ve made so many concessions this year, we weren’t going to let that stop us.”

Chase Dafoe

Saying the Trail Smoke Eaters are eager to hit the ice is a serious understatement, as the team’s 14-day quarantine comes to an end on Friday (Mar. 26) and the BCHL season gets set to drop the puck April 2.

“The first few days was okay but it’s getting old now,” said Smoke Eaters GM and head coach Tim Fragle. “I think everyone was under the assumption that we were all in our own bubble as it was, but then having to quarantine, nobody was pleased to hear that.

“But we’ve made so many concessions this year, we weren’t going to let that stop us.”

The team has been in quarantine since Mar. 12 in preparation for an 20-game season in a Penticton bubble beginning with their first game against the Vees on April 2.

The Smoke Eaters and all BCHL players have not practiced or seen any ice time during the quarantine, as they get set to travel to their respective bubbles.

Fragle says keeping the players engaged and working out has been a challenge but, like most of the season, the players have adapted.

“We’re doing a few zoom calls every day, one of them would be to go over a daily workout that Dustin [Korlak] our assistant coach is putting together,” said Fragle, who also set up zoom calls with NHL goalie coach Dustin Schwartz and Calgary Flames forward Derek Ryan. “And then the other zoom meetings we’ll show them clips from NHL play, and keeping them engaged with some Ice Breakers and Team Building stuff.

“I’m seeing some smiles on their faces, so I think they’re okay with this.”

Smoke Eaters veteran goalie Logan Terness along with roommate and rookie forward Nic Roussel have made the best of the tough two week quarantine at his billet house.

“We’ve built a pretty nice gym set-up at my grandparents house,” said Terness. “So me and my billet bro Nic Roussel have been probably getting three hours a day of physical activity, so it’s something anyway.”

The past year has been difficult for Trail and all of the BCHL, particularly for veterans like Terness and Chase Dafoe. The cancellation of playoffs last season in March, 2020, came just after the Smokies’ sweep of the Prince George Spruce Kings. Then a hopeful start to this season was soon followed by the season postponement at the end of November.

“It was definitely disappointing for sure,” said Terness, who earned the 2020 BCHL Rookie of the Year. “Last year, we had a chance to go all the way with the group we had, we had a pretty special group.

“Then coming back with hopes we’d be able to go shortly, then the date kept getting pushed back and back and wondering when it’s going to end.

“At least we got something we can use now so our whole team can show what they got, and it will help us move on to the next level.”

Dafoe, the Smoke Eaters assistant captain, is one of the few players who is billeted by himself, and admits adapting to the COVID season had its ups and definite downs, but is excited to get back into action.

“Having experience from last year, and being one of the only returners made it easier to come in as a leader this year, and it was nice to get some games in,” said Dafoe, who had seven points in nine exhibition games.

“Obviously we didn’t think we’d be taking this long of a break in between games. There’s definitely been some tough days just not knowing if we were ever going to play, but everyone did a really good job of staying engaged and looking forward to being back at it.

“When we heard the news, everyone was really pumped.”

Dafoe plans to return to the Smoke Eaters next year but Terness will be moving on to the University of Connecticut. Both want to make an impression over the last 18 games and use that momentum for next year season.

“It’ll be fun to move on and go on to the next level, and play with all those elite players,” added Terness. “But I definitely enjoyed my time in Trail for sure.”

Starting Apr. 2, the Smoke Eaters will play 10 games against the Cranbrook Bucks and 10 versus the Penticton Vees at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Playoffs remain uncertain, but for Fragle and the rest of the Smoke Eaters just being able to compete is consolation enough.

“We were saying all along we would take just playing one team so when we found out it was a pod of three we were excited,” said Fragle. “The alternative with no games is not where we want to be so we’ll take what we can get.”

Read: Smoke Eaters begin quarantine for BCHL return to play plan

Read: Greater Trail minor hockey maintains tradition

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Trail Smoke Eaters

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tim Schewe
Drivesmart column: Drivers who try to bulldoze through others

Inevitably I will end up with nothing but grille showing in my rearview mirror

Think on These Things: Truth is given to be shared

“Everyone is invited. Poor or wealthy. All need to recognize the authority of true goodness.”

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

A mushroom grower plans to plan new mushrooms in fallen trees in the Kaslo Community Forest. File photo
Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

Alison Watson spotted this mama bear and her cub up an oak tree in Warfield last fall. Photo: Alison Watson
Secure your trash; Bears are awaking in Greater Trail and they’re hungry

Trash is the most reported attractant involved in human-bear conflicts

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Most Read