Sunday, August 30, 2009

Exhibition Game 3

Trail native Thomas Abenante (22) celebrates his second period goal which temporarily tied the game at 1 -1.

Penticton Vees 4

Trail Smoke Eaters 2

Game Summary

Period 1
14:54 Penticton - Holka (D. Johnson)

Period 2
3:46 Trail - Abenante (Koshey, Cici)
13:05 Penticton - Paltridge (Bennett)
14:38 Penticton - Slemp (Bennett, Laleggia)

Period 3
9:19 Trail - Sandor (Mailey, Strukoff) PPG
19:59 Penticton - Holka (unassisted) SHG/ENG

Power Plays
Penticton 0 - 7
Trail 1 - 7

Goaltender Saves
Faust (Penticton) 23
Beckwith (Trail) 26

Trail vs Penticton Live Blog

Ryan Pinder is live blogging Trail's final game of the exhibition tournament over at his Vees Blog. Click here to get live details of today's action between the Vees and the Smoke Eaters. Come back to visit this blog later to get Randy Emery's summary of the action. Thanks again to Randy for the great updates. I'll be back on Tuesday but Randy is still free to post his thoughts, stats or pictures on this blog whenever he would like.

NOTE: Click here for the announcement that former Smoke Eater Dylan Herold is Burnaby's new Captain. Great guy and gutsy player.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exhibition Game 2

Matt Malenstyn (23) scores his first goal of the exhibition season as Powell River goaltender Michael Garteig looks backs helplessly while the puck rolls in over his right shoulder.

Trail Smoke Eaters

Powell River Kings 4

Scoring Summary

Period 1
6:40 Powell River - Schmidt (Pettit) SHG

Period 2
0:36 Trail - Lidster (Loyst, Jacklin) PPG
5:09 Trail - Malenstyn (Mathews) PPG
9:07 Trail - Loyst (Dyck, Malenstyn)
10:26 Trail - Majkowski (Lewis, Jacklin)
14:56 Powell River - Formosa (Forbes, McDougall)

Period 3
2:41 Powell River - Formosa (Pettit, Forbes)
14:27 Powell River - Rainaldi (Hogan)

no scoring

Power Plays
Powell River : 0 - 6
Trail : 2 - 7

Goaltender Saves
Garteig (Powell River) 18
Murtagh (Trail) 37

Friday, August 28, 2009

Exhibition Game 1

Rookie Sam Mellor scores on a breakaway giving Trail a 2-0 first period lead

Trail Smoke Eaters 7
Brooks Bandits 1

Scoring Summary

Period 1
5:41 Trail Lidster (Walker, Dyck) PPG
6:57 Trail Mellor (Piccard)

Period 2
8:48 Trail Sandor (Mellor, Jacklin)
13:16 Brooks Penner (unassisted)
19:56 Trail Loyst (Lidster, Lewis)

Period 3
4:14 Trail Fridella (Dyck, Nugent)
4:24 Trail Loyst (Lewis, Lidster)
7:25 Trail Cici (Dyck, Piccard)

Power Plays Brooks 1 - 3
Trail 1 - 6

Goaltender Saves
Katunar (Trail) 16
Gunderson (Brooks) 29

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Training Camp Day 3

Paul Mailey (grey) backhands puck past a sprawling Garrett Beckwith.

Team Grey 7 Team Black 6

Team Grey goal scorers : Lidster (2) , Jancaterino (2), Lewis, Mailey, Muller

Team Black goal scorers : Mellor (2), Dyck, Jacklin, Fridella, Sandor

Team Black Goaltenders : Katunar 2 GA ; Beckwith 5 GA

Team Grey goaltenders : Vlanich 3 GA : Murtagh 3 GA

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Training Camp Day 2

Alex Barron (#6) goes top shelf glove side

I'm sure all 6 goaltender's would probably like to forget tonight's games. Lots of goals tonight. I felt that in both games the physical contact was much more evident than last night. Many solid hits in the second game between Team Red and Team Yellow.

My choice for Star Player of the night would be Scott Jacklin. Hopefully this is a sneak preview of what he has in store for the Smoke Eater fans this season.

The roster sheets only have the player's last names so I don't know all the player's first names.

TEAM YELLOW : Team Yellow was the team that played twice tonight. As I mentioned Scott Jacklin was outstanding. The "Kimberley Connection" with Matt Wilkins and Sam Mellor used their speed and skill to create scoring chance after scoring chance. Unfortunately Wilkins had to leave late in the first game with an undisclosed injury. He didn't return for the second game. However that didn't seem to slow down Jacklin and Mellor at all. Zach Majkowski (BV Nitehawks) had his best outing in the second game owning the face-off circle and getting in on some of the goals. He also initiated quite a few hits. Sean Nugent had another strong performance. Steve Koshey looked very good for the second night. Alaskan defenceman Ben Matthews looked very good as did Brett Naka. I thought Naka wasn't as noticeable after the scrap with Lidster last night but he rebounded and had two very solid games tonight. Tonight I was very impressed with defenceman Alex Barron (California Wave) . I watched this player at the rookie evaluation camp in Princeton back in April and he was very impressive. Last night I thought he had a so so game but tonight he was outstanding. Scored a very nice goal and great tape to tape passing every shift. Very rarely caught out of position.

TEAM BLUE : The blue team scored quite a few goals against the yellow team tonight but who's counting? Again the 20 year old Ty Lewis had good outing. In fact he played for the red team later filling in for Travis St. Denis. Darnell Dyck who was acquired from Surrey for Paul Barclay looks like he'll be a keeper as well. Quick skater with very good offensive skills. On defence Wade Bennett (LA Junior Kings) had his best game so far. Excellent mobility. 16 year old Eric Walker had another strong performance. I thought #4 Reid was the most physical d-man for the blue team tonight.

TEAM RED : In last night's report I said there was only one 16 year old (93) at camp. I overlooked promising forward Dallon Stoddart (Kootenay Ice Major Midget) from Nelson. He's going to be a dandy as well. Paul Mailey was his usual self. nuff said. Was there ever any better choice for captain? Jordan Thomas (California Wave Major Midget) has lots of speed and absolutely undressed one d-man with a slick move. I was so mesmerized by the move that I can't recall if he scored or hit the crossbar. Corey Bulach (Castlegar Rebels -Sicamous Eagles), the younger brother of Ryan stood out as well showing the work ethic runs in the family. On the blueline returnee and fan favorite Graeme Strukoff was the that team's best d-man.

NOTES : Veteran 20 year old Adam Gummer is not on the training camp roster. Justin Brown hasn't played but is on the bench coaching. Travis St. Denis did not dress for this evening's game.

My aplogies if I left anyone out. So many players and so little time.

Hopefully I will be able to get off work tomorrow early enough to catch the last period of the Black Orange game. I won't be able to do a report but if I can I'll get the game scoresheet and at least list the final score and goal scorers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Training Camp Day 1

Shawn's Note: Randy Emery is a long time Trail Smoke Eaters fan and stats guru. He knows the history of the current BCHL Smoke Eaters better than anyone. Thanks Randy for keeping us up to date during training camp!

Hi all. Shawn had asked me to update everyone on the Smokies training camp during his absence. I cannot possibly fill Shawn's shoes but hopefully I can keep you up do date as to what is going on.

The camp is divided into 3 teams with practices in the morning which I could not attend due to work. In the early evening there are two scrimmages with one team having to play twice.

The games were mostly scrambly but there were some nice plays and some good goaltending.

TEAM YELLOW : Scott Jacklin really stood out and was really displaying his speed while breaking hard to the net. Kimberley Dynamiter Matt Wilkins caught my attention. Strong skater with very good hands. Sniped a couple beauties. Sean Nugent looked like he was in mid season form, hitting everything that moved. D-man Brett Naka was very solid during the first game. Naka challenged big Colin Lidster to the only scrap of the night and got the worst of it. Wilkins teammate from Kimberley Sam Mellor also caught my eye with his speed and skill.

TEAM RED : This team played twice tonight so I'm sure they were a bit tired for the second game. During the first game I was very impressed with newcomer Colin Lidster. He's a real beauty ! I knew he had size but I was really impressed with his skating. Returning vets Paul Mailey, Travis St. Denis and Graeme Strukoff all had good outings. Nelson Leaf David Piccard was rock solid on the blueline.

Riley Loyst looks to have recovered fully from his unfortunate injuries from last season. He looks much faster than last year. A few people had asked me who this #20 blue was. The jersey numbers were mixed up for some players but this player was getting a lot of peoples attention. He was on the roster sheet but with a different number. A 20 year old forward. On defence I was really impressed with the only 16 year old at this years camp. The kid looked physically much older than his age. It's going to be tough for the coaching staff to not keep him. Not sure if I should let his name out just yet though.

I'll be at both games tomorrow night but unfortunately work commitments will force me to miss all the Wedneday events including the Black-Orange Allstar game. But I will be at all 6 exhibition games hopefully with a better report.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ingram Talks Camp

As previously stated I'm on vacation and as such somewhat out of touch. I've tried to stay in contact with folks back home so if anything breaks I can have it for you on the blog... but no promises. For now I'll leave you with a conversation I had with Smokies Coach and GM Jim Ingram just before I left last week. We discuss what he expects for all positions at training camp and the process of evaluating all that young talent. Wish I could be there when the boys hit the ice, but I trust all you Smokies fans out there will keep me up to date with e-mails to

We should also have some updates from camp if I can get the blog set up for my guest blogger. Stay tuned for that as well as the possibility of live blogs from the exhibition tournament on Ryan Pinder's Vees Blog. I don't know if that's a go or not yet so keep an eye on it.

Here's Coach...

Jim Ingram on Camp

Click here to download


...Merritt got their new Coach/GM tandem very quickly after the departure of Bouchard broke. I assume things happened that way for a reason. Brian has things covered with articles and interviews over at the Making Cents Blog. These brothers have pretty good resumes. I hope they can build some positive momentum for the Cents. Again we'll find out when the season opens on September 11th in Merritt.

...Check for a video of Dany Heatley wearing a BCHL jersey during their story on his chat with the press today. I know the Smokies are looking for some extra goal scoring this season!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bouchard Quits

Ryan Pinder and Brian Wiebe have the word that Joey Bouchard has resigned from his job with Merritt before he coached even a single game for the team. Wiebe sites personal reasons (differences with the executive) and says there's a new Coach and GM locked up. I'm on vacation (missing training camp for my friend's wedding) so I don't have a lot of time to discuss this further. However, if I were a betting man I would think this has something to do with budget. Bouchard came into town under the assumption that his friends and Junior B bosses from Alberta were going to buy the team. Brent Stark was apparently going to pump some serious money into the team and their budget to try and jump start the Merritt operation and put a successful product on the ice. When Stark's purchase of the team fell through at the last minute I'm sure that budget changed. Private owners can take risks that community owned teams can't. Especially community owned teams coming off massive losses.

Bouchard at the time didn't know the deal was going to fall apart and said he was sticking with the team. Only a couple of weeks later he's gone. What does this mean for players he recruited or players he was trying to recruit? Guys who came to Merritt expecting a certain coach and new ownership who will now get there and find a completely different story... how will they react?

Do I know for a fact this was about budget? Absolutely not. Let us not forget that Bouchard was expecting to work with Stark and suddenly the whole picture changed. Whatever his reasons for leaving you would have to think that ultimately it comes down to the sale falling through. So what now? Keep an eye on Brian's blog for the latest.

Is this another black eye for a Merritt franchise that has been taking blow after blow the last two seasons? Perhaps, but if Bouchard and more importantly Stark can break commitments so quickly and at such dramatic times... then maybe it's better it happened now. Imagine it were instead five months from now with no community ownership to pick up the pieces. Merritt is left with questions now instead of answers, but at least the franchise is in the hands of people who care about the team and the city. Whatever they do will be with an eye to saving hockey in Merritt. I certainly wish them luck.

We'll get a look at the Cents in Merritt for the first Smoke Eaters regular season game on September 11th. If there was ever a time and a reason for the community to rally around there team it would be now. Hopefully the fans will pack that old barn and we can open the season with a bang. Either way you'll be hearing it all live on Mountain FM!

I'll have an interview with Jim Ingram on training camp within the next couple of days. After that I'll have a very special guest on the blog for training camp and the exhibition tournament. I won't be there but he blog will go on! Can't wait to get home and get started on another season.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Smokies Stew, BCHL Notes

The Trail Smoke Eaters have acquired defenceman Chris Stew from Surrey to complete the Paul Barclay/Darnell Dyck deal from earlier in the summer. It's listed on the BCHL website as Stew to Trail for future considerations but Stew is in fact the future considerations. The deal ends up being Barclay to the Eagles for Dyck and Stew. Stew is listed at 6'1 and 185lbs on the BCHL website while the PIJHL website gives him an extra 5 pounds. He scored 2 points in 30 games as a BCHL rookie last season. Stew also played 24 games for Port Moody in Junior B last year and scored 17 points. He had 10 points in each of his previous two PIJHL seasons, but seemed to find his offensive stride as a veteran with the Black Panthers. Enough that he got the call to the Eageles where seemingly he played limited minutes. This is another opportunity for him to prove himself at the Junior A level.

Stew's name is now added to what should be a very competitive camp on the blue line. Only two guys are back from last year's Smokies teams with several spots up for grabs. These guys will need to convince management they can do the job or they may have to make a move or two. There is a lot of talent coming in and Smokies fans will see that when camp starts. I can't believe how soon that will be. I just wish I was going to be here for camp! Instead I'll be off at a friend's wedding in Ottawa. Don't worry, we'll keep you up to date on the blog.


...EDIT: Tickets are in fact not on sale yet. They'll be selling them at the door. However, you can still get a full tournament pass for $15. It runs on August 28th, 29th and 30th at the Cominco Arena. Penticton, Powell River and Brooks will all take part. Each team will play each other once over the three days. It'll only cost you $15 for the entire tournament or $5 per game. To get your full tournament pass head over to Re-Max All Pro Realty. That's a hell of a deal for 6 games. These won't be easy going exhibition games either. Players will be fighting for spots and trying to impress college scouts who will come out to Trail for the tournament. Don't miss it.

...Kelowna broadcaster Regan Bartel is reporting that former Smoke Eater Lucas Bloodoff and Trail forward Travis St. Denis' brother Kyle are both getting invites to NHL training camps. The two are teammates with the Kelowna Rockets in the WHL. I talked to Kyle today and he says his invite from the Dallas Stars was set up by Rockets owner Bruce Hamilton. The former Vernon Viper and Beaver Valley Nitehawk will turn some heads with added responsibility this year if he can stay healthy. Lucas will join his brother Evan at the Phoenix camp as Evan was drafted by the team this year. Both Bloodoff brothers (from Castlegar) will win points with hard work and smart hockey.

...Former Smoke Eater Skyler Smutek is on the move. Quesnel picked up the one time Spokane Brave and Jeff Writght from Fort McMurray (who got Smutek's rights from Drayton Valley somehow) for Brad Ryan and Matt Brown. Skyler was an all star for the Thunder last year after being traded from Trail for Adam Gummer. I hope he will find a comfortable home up north as he's a nice young man with a lot of talent.

...Brooks Robinson is headed to Prince George after a series of trades. We saw him as a part of Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Trail two seasons ago. Brooks had kind of an off year in 08-09 but he's got a lot of talent. He played for Jim Ingram in Junior B and Trail's Coach speaks highly of him. However, it seems like basically a wash for Prince George when they gave up Alex Allan. It's one point per game player for another.

...Vernon got stronger as well by trading the rights to Brian Elser to Victoria for Jonathan Milhouse. He's another veteran point per game player that will help Vernon defend their Royal Bank Cup. With Sahir Gill and several older veterans leaving Milhouse will fill part of that void.

...Former Nelson Leaf Dylan Walchuk has committed to Northern Michigan University after a terrific season in the KIJHL. He was excellent in Nelson's run to the league title. Smokies fans got to see him in action as an AP for a few games. He'll be a good one for the Vipers next season.

...Check out Ryan Pinder's Vees Blog for an update on Penticton's prep camp in Osoyoos. I'll be there myself this weekend with my family for some late summer relaxing.

...Eddie Gregory on his Burnaby Express Blog has the scoop on the Dan Correale situation. I have a feeling we'll hear more about this before the season starts.

Clark to Iowa State

(Photo Randy Emery)

Former Smoke Eater Brandon Clark has committed to play for Iowa State in the ACHA. The four year BCHL veteran earned a full academic scholarship to the school. His hockey helped him and he'll be a huge part of the team, but this just goes to show how important academics are. Clark deserves a ton of credit for making sure his marks were good enough to create this opportunity for himself. His goal was to get his education paid for at a good school and he achieved it. Kudos to Brandon.

I remain convinced that Brandon is a Division 1 player. He had a strong career before Trail (especially in Surrey) but I think really put it all together in his final season. Anyone who watched the Smokies in the first half of the season would have to have noticed how strong Clark was. In my view he was one of the best defencemen in the league in the fall. He scored game winner after game winner, was the key to what was a deadly power play, a very important off ice leader (who could handle himself in any battle of insults) and a rock in his own zone. I'd say in the first half of the season he was probably the club's MVP. That says something given how well Gehon, Bulach and others were playing.

That's when the injury bug struck. Clark missed significant time and was never at 100% again. His injury was one of the biggest factors in Trail not being able to keep up the pace they set early in the season. I also think if not for that injury he'd be playing Division 1 next season. All that being said he is getting his education paid for, getting to play hockey and setting himself up for life. That's what it's all about. I talked to Brandon about it all recently on Mountain FM's Overtime...

Brandon Clark on Iowa State

Click here to download

Stay tuned for an update on a new defenceman and other BCHL news later tonight.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Billet Families Needed

The Trail Smoke Eaters are looking for some billet families for the 2009-10 BCHL season. It's a great way to be a part of the Smokies family... and get free season tickets! I have to say I know so many stories of billet families who end up making rich, life long connections to the players that pass through their home. Just talk to assistant coach Brian Youngson who still has a great relationship with his billet family from Fernie or former Smoke Eater Stefan Decosse who still has a great relationship with his billet family from when he was in Beaver Valley and Trail. These are great kids who in addition to being easy to deal with can actually contribute a lot to your home. Here's Smokies board member Scott McKinnon...

Scott McKinnon on Billets

Click here to download

That number again is 368-5750.


...The Castlegar Rebels have traded Ryan Bulach's brother Corey to Sicamous for forward Luke Richardson. At least this Luke Richardson doesn't have to stand up for Jarkko Ruutu. Corey played half the season last year for the Rebels and impressed a lot of people with his heart and tenacity. He's now going to the team that Ryan took to a KIJHL Championship against former Smokies Patrik Martin and Stefan Decosse when they played for Beaver Valley. Richardson will be trying out for Junior A, but if he doesn't make it he'll be a big offensive cog for the Rebels. Castlegar also added Ryan Reid to their roster for next season. They have lots of holes to fill from graduating players and from four of their guys going to Williams Lake for next season.

...The Fernie Ghostriders blog has gathered some feedback to Kamloops winning the right to host the Keystone Cup. Obviously folks in Fernie and Nelson are not too pleased by this. I know for my own reasons I'd love to have seen the event in Nelsone where they would've put on a great show. I think that's the biggest reason I don't like the BC Hockey decision. In Nelson and Fernie the KIJHL is the #1 hockey show in town. In Kamloops it's second to the WHL. Plus Kamloops gets so many tournaments that it won't be as special there as it would have been for the smaller communities. That being said, I'm sure Barry Dewar and his organization will do a hell of a job.

...The Penitcton Vees have a new trainer who is also a qualified coach.

...Former Smoke Eater (twice) Brian Kang is headed to college.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Captain, Alternates and Audio

(Paul Mailey taking on all comers - Photo Randy Emery)

I've received lots of positive feedback today in my e-mail to Paul Mailey being named the new Captain of the Smoke Eaters. Mailey is the sixth local player to wear the C for the BCHL Smokies. He follows the legacy left by Corey Bell, Dallas Stanton, Brandon Gawryletz, Jon Hanley and Kevin Limbert. Thanks to Randy Emery for that info and as always his terrific photos. The Greater Trail region has always produced that hard working, blue collar type of player that lends itself to team leadership. Of course last year's Captain Ryan Bulach may as well have been from Trail given the way he played the game and conducted himself.

Mailey is an excellent choice for a number of reasons. As I mention in both interviews he's not as vocal as a guy like Sean Nugent, but he's someone who has earned the respect of the team over three BCHL seasons. He's been a Smoke Eater since he was 16 and grew up learning what that was all about. Mailey is also someone who works as hard or harder than anyone on the team. He has good grades, is in great shape and continues to improve as a player every year. You can see that from the increases in his point totals.

(Mailey and Jeff Zmurchyk sign autographs)

Now is also a good time to make him Captain because he is certainly expected to step up and be one of Trail's best players this season. He'll need to bring his offensive game up even another notch this year the way that Bulach did last season as Captain. Mailey was an alternate last year and knows what it takes to be part of the leadership core. He's played under three great Captains in Alex Greenlay, Limbert and Bulach. I think he'll do a terrific job.

I had a chance to talk to Coach Jim Ingram and Mailey himself about the selection. Ingram also discusses Patrik Martin's commitment to Simon Fraser University (more on that tomorrow with Martin and Jeff Dubois) and naming two of Mailey's alternate captains.

Jim Ingram on Captains

Click here to download

Paul Mailey

Click here to download

(Brown with an intense look - Photo Randy Emery)

The Ingram interview also let the cat out of the bag on Trail's new alternate captains. He only named two of them and will leave a spot open for training camp. Trail's Justin Brown certainly follows in the footsteps of past local leaders. He receives a lot of comparisons to Kevin Limbert because of his excellence academically and commitment to fitness. Brown was a rookie in the league last year who wasn't a lock to make the team. He took that spot and became a leader as a 17 year old. Brown also has the potential to become one of the better two way players in the league. There's no question in my mind that he's a future Captain.

(Nugent shows his brute force - Photo Randy Emery)

The other alternate is a no brainer in my view. Sean Nugent was a 19 year old rookie last season, but you wouldn't know it by the respect he commanded. Nugent will tell guys when they have to pick up their game... and if they dont, he might just rip their heads off. He can do that because he's one of the hardest workers out there himself. Listen to the interview with Coach Ingram to get some insight into that. Nugent doesn't get an off season as he goes right from hockey to lacrosse. That's part of what makes him as tough as he is. However, he makes the effort to do all the little things on the ice too. This isn't just a goon. He's a player that I think is capable of scoring 20 goals while being a huge physical presence for his team.

As for that third alternate spot... there is no shortage of possibilities. From veterans like Nick Sandor, Riley Loyst and Colin Lidster to someone that may not even be pencilled in for the roster yet. With Mailey, Brown and Nugent in place there is already no question the team will have a terrific leadership core in place. They're examples of hard work on and off the ice. Performance, practice, fitness and academics... you don't get much better than these three.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Trail's New Captain

Details, audio and the alternate captains coming up tomorrow on the blog. Tune in tomorrow night to Mountain FM's Overtime to hear from the new captain.

Grisdale on All-Star Game, Big Smokies News

There's been lots of talk about the BCHL's new All-Star Game format. I figured why not go right to the top again to get the league's perspective on why they've changed from an Interior vs. Coastal game to a defending BCHL Champion vs. All-Star Game. Here's the commish from last night's Mountain FM Overtime show...

John Grisdale on the All-Star Game

Click here to download

That's the view from the BCHL head office. I suppose we'll see how well this move works when they try it out this winter in Nanaimo. I really do hope they can arrange the AJHL vs. BCHL game for the following season though.

As for the Smoke Eaters, Coach and GM Jim Ingram will announce this year's Captain and two of the alternates tonight on Mountain FM's Overtime. Tune in just after the 6 o'clock news tonight on 104.1 FM in Trail. I'll have that news on the blog eventually but you've got to tune into Overtime tonight if you want to know before anyone else! Also you should scroll down the page a little bit for some good news on a former Smokies alternate captain...

EDIT: Does anyone who understands blogger or webpages better than I do know how to change it so my photos have a border around them?

Martin to Simon Fraser

Congratulations are in order today for Patrik Martin. I got an e-mail confirming that the Rossland native and now former Smoke Eater has earned a scholarship to go play at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby. Martin was a heart and soul player for the Smokies over the last three seasons. Martin started his career with Beaver Valley in the KIJHL where he was part of a conference championship team and scored 35 points in 65 games over a couple seasons. In the BCHL he scored 28 points over 130 games, but that doesn't summarize what he contributed to the team. Martin was always a main stay on the penalty kill. He won what must have been a thousand puck battles in the corners and along the boards. He's only listed as 5'9 and 170lbs but fought some of the biggest and toughest guys in the league to defend his teammates.

Martin was also an alternate captain for the Smokies and easily one of the team's most valuable leaders. When he spoke people listened and he demanded respect. The coaches always knew they could lean on him when the chips were down. He also has some solid hands around the net. He scored a few of the prettier goals Trail has had since I've been here. I know he'll be missed at the Cominco Areana, but Simon Fraser got themselves a good one.

EDIT: Here's a link to the media release from Simon Fraser.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Keystone Cup to Kamloops?

EDIT: It's now official. Click here for the BC Hockey news release.

The Western Canadian Junior B Hockey Championship appears to be headed to Kamloops. The Fernie Ghostriders website had a post on it this morning reporting that the Kamloops Storm's bid for the Keystone Cup was successful. However, a few hours later that post was removed and replaced by one simply stating that Fernie would not host the event. The Kamloops rumour is still posted on the Ghostriders blog. It was known that Fernie, Nelson and Kamloops were the KIJHL teams bidding for the event along with one or two from Vancouver Island.

I made a call to the KIJHL officers and they hadn't heard anything yet. A call to BC Hockey has thus far gone un-returned. I then talked to Kamloops owner Barry Dewar who told me nothing was official yet and they were expecting an announcement this afternoon. Word is that Kamloops and Nelson were the finalists... just like they were the finalists in the KIJHL playoffs this past season. Looks like we may end up with a different result off the ice.

I also put in a call to Coach Will Verner of the Ghostiders. He told me on the record that they were told their bid was not successful. He couldn't officially say anything more at this point.

Seems to me that we're all just waiting for BC Hockey to make it official, but it looks like the Keystone Cup is headed to Kamloops. Tough luck for local hockey fans as it would have been a great show in Nelson. Especially after the event was in Thunder Bay last year, it'd be nice to see it in one of the smaller Junior B communities. However, if they do get it, I know Dewar and the Storm will do an excellent job as hosts.

All-Star Format Change

The BCHL has changed the All-Star Game format for next season. Click here to read the full news release from the BCHL website. The defending champion Vernon Vipers will play the BCHL All-Stars in Nanaimo. I have a couple of questions about the change. For one, will every team be represented as they have been before? If so that means there will be 16 players nearly filling the roster to just make sure all the teams have a player in the game. That means there could be some very deserving guys left off the team because they happen to play for the same team.

I'm also curious about what happened to the prospects game we heard a lot of talk about. There were rumours about the BCHL playing the AJHL in a game designed to attract scouts to watch the best unsigned talent in the league. Even if that wasn't going to happen I would think a prospects game is still the best way to go for a league that is trying to secure scholarships for their talent. Either way this certainly is a unique format that will hopefully be a little more interesting than last year's game. It certainly brings back memories of the old NHL All-Star games in the original six era. We'll have to wait and see how well it turns out.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Trail Jays Season Over

I'm not working today and don't have a lot of details, but Mountain FM news reported today that the Trail Jays lost 12-6 to Treasure Valley last night and were eliminated from the American Legion Baseball Idaho State AA Tournament. The loss ends Trail's seasons and the junior ball careers of all their 1990 born players. This was Trail's first trip to state since 2002 and a season to be very proud of. It marks the peak of a great turn around under President Ed Ferraro and Manager Nick Schuerman. Congrats to all involved. We'll have more on this on Overtime this Tuesday.