It has been a hard slog for local junior hockey teams lately, but at least one seems to be turning a postive corner.
The defending B.C. junior B champion Nitehawks had a really tough November, but have collected some wins this month, including a statement on home ice against the division and erstwhile league leading Nelson Leafs. With the rest of the 2017 schedule heavy with home games, Beaver Valley may just be in a celebratory mood heading into the New Year.
There is a chance this three game weekend could bump up that mood timeline to pre-Christmas, too
The Smoke Eaters, on the other hand, have parlayed some tough injury luck and some good luck for their stars into a woefull past few weeks. Missing players cannot excuse some of the sloppy play, but it is no doubt difficult creating new lines heading into every new game.
Some seriously disciplined play will be needed in this weekend’s last two pre-holiday tilts if Trail wants to garner any standings points to maintain their quest for a top two division spot. Beaver Bend’s Wes Mussio will have, I am certain, emphatically emphasized his wish that his new purchase put on a good show tonight in his home area, and even at full strength the Smokies have not had any success against Vernon, their Saturday opponent.
With any luck, Trail will return to full strength by the time the schedule resumes in two weeks, and at full strength the Smokies are generally competitive with any team in the league. Surviving the tough stretch with a depleted lineup has not done them any standings favours.
• It has been a long time since ancient ex-pros have darkened Cominco Arena’s doors, so the scholarship fundraiser early next year is timely. It has, unfortunately, been even longer since the Habs lineup has been replete with stars – this year marks 25 NHL seasons since Montreal was the last Canadian franchise to win the Stanley Cup – so it is likely more than a few of the players in the ex-Habs lineup will not be household names outside of their own current households.
They will undoubtedly, however, be what remains of very good hockey players with NHL pedigrees and if the last such episode in the Home Of Champions is prologue to the coming one will provide a very entertaining evening for hockey fans.
• The local 480 Christmas party this afternoon will also serve as the Swan Song for Armindo Demeideros, the long time president of the local Steelworkers branch. Today is his last day on the job before he heads off to his greener Boundary area pastures for, mostly, good.
An opportunity for those so inclined to say, “Hi, Bye, Thank You, Merry Christmas,” or whatever to a pretty good guy.