Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2009-10 Smokies Alumni (Campese, Bloodoff, Limbert, Martin, Clark, Jago and company)

I haven't done nearly as good a job this year at keeping track of the Smokies alumni. At this point most of them are done or close to done their seasons. If you see that anyone is missing off of the list please let me know by e-mailing me.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for former Smoke Eaters. In fact, one of them just became a champion. Rossland's Patrik Martin and the Simon Fraser University club won the BCIHL crown a couple of weeks back. Martin not only provided the grit and leadership he always brought the Smokies and Nitehawks, but he was also an offensive force for SFU with almost a point per game this season.

A couple of former Smokies got closer to championships. Brandon Clark's Iowa State club was one win away from the ACHA championship, but they fell 2-0 in the tournament final against Lindenwood. Clark's team also included former Nelson Leaf Mike Lebler. Speaking of the Leafs, former Smoke Eater Scott Jago helped take Nelson to another KIJHL finals before losing to Revelstoke. That wraps up a junior career that took Jago to Victoria, Trail and a KIJHL champinoship with the Leafs last season.

Back to the college game, one time Trail Captain Kevin Limbert helped Yale University to their first ever victory in an NCAA tournament game. However, the Bulldogs were stopped in the second round and expectations are certainly rising for this team. I know he's not their top scorer or anything, but I guarantee you Limbert is a big part of the fabric of a team that has gone to the NCAA tournament in back to back years now.

There was also news this week about a former Smoke Eater bench boss. Bruno Campese has re-upped with the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders for another 2 seasons. It's a commitment to Bruno and his whole staff as they try to shape the Raiders into their vision. He did very good work in Trail and in Penticton so I would expect he'll turn that team into a contender soon. I had a good long chat with him tonight and it'll air on Overtime tomorrow evening.

I also had the chance to catch up with former Smoke Eater Lucas Bloodoff this week. He scored the series winning goal for Kelowna in their first round WHL playoff match-up with Everett. Bloodoff is now the Rockets Captain after being a big part of their WHL championship team last season. They battled a lot of injuries in the regular season and seem to be rounding into form at the right time. Here's my interview with Bloodoff previewing their second round battle with Tri-Cities and I might as well also post the interview I did with Trail native Craig Cunningham (not a former Smoke Eater though) on Vancouver's sweep over Kamloops...

Kelowna Rockets forward Lucas Bloodoff

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Vancouver Giants forward Craig Cunningham

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There are several local products still involved in the WHL playoffs. Castlegar's Luke Walker (Eric's cousin) and the Portland Winterhawks came from down 3-0 in game 7 to beat Spokane 5-4 in overtime. Walker scored a late goal to tie the game. Very strange to see the road team win every game in that series. That sets up Portland against Vancouver. In addition to Cunningham the Giants also feature Grand Forks' Brett Lyon. It's a real war of the West Kootenay Boundary.

Getting back to Smokies alumni, here is a list I have of how active former Smoke Eaters did on the stat sheet this year. If you notice any mistakes or missing players again feel free to let me know in comments or by e-mail.

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