Smoke Eaters Coach and GM Jim Ingram is one of the nicest guys I know. He's very easy to get along with and has rarely if ever allowed frustration to seep into our many interviews. That's how you know he was legitimately and seriously angered by what he saw in Trail's two games against Vernon this weekend. Anytime you talk to another coach about a Jim Ingram team the first thing that always comes up is work ethic. His teams are known for giving everything they have shift in and shift out. That work ethic was a big part of Trail's run to the top of the standings last fall. It's what took them to overtime with Westside twice in the playoffs last spring. It's a big part of why Ingram was nominated for Coach of the Year last season. Even when his teams have been decimated by injuries or got stuck in slumps, they never stopped giving it their all. When they win, they win by leaving it all on the ice. Coach Ingram felt like in the 7-1 and 5-1 losses to the Vipers the team didn't do that. Perhaps they did it for 40 minutes on Saturday, but the let downs late in that game and early in Friday's games were unacceptable. It's one thing to lose to a team as talented as Vernon. It's another thing to get what Ingram called an ass kicking. He reminds every player on the team in this interview that no one's job is safe until January 10th. If you're not going to bust your butt every second of every game... you might as well not even show up to the rink. That includes returning veterans. Those guys need to set the tone and show what it takes to be a Smoke Eater. They can't rest on their laurels. This is Jim Ingram as frustrated as I've ever heard him. If the guys don't come out with passion and intensity on Wednesday in Penticton and Thursday in Westside the roster could soon have a completely different look. It's that simple. As easy going as Coach Ingram can seem when you're just sitting and chatting with him on the bus, he takes the game very seriously. He's very passionate about Trail's reputation and he won't hesitate to send a skill guy packing if he isn't willing to pay the price. If you don't believe me just listen to the interview he gave me tonight on Mountain FM's Overtime...
Coach Jim Ingram on Mountain FM's Overtime
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What did I tell you? A very passionate Jim Ingram sends a clear message. I'm sure his actual conversation with the team went well beyond what he said there as well. Trail's next action is Wednesday night in Penticton and Thursday night in West Kelowna against the Warriors. They'll play four games in five nights by coming home against Quesnel on Saturday night and Williams Lake on Sunday. For a look at the enemy check out Boston Pizza Vees This Week with Ryan Pinder on his Vees Blog. I make a cameo at some point but I'm sure you're all getting sick of me by now. Stay tuned to Mountain FM's Overtime for a likely interview with Trail's new sniper Tye Lewis tomorrow night. There will also be a Tuesday night KIJHL game when Beaver Valley hosts Spokane.
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