Congratulations are due to the Revelstoke Grizzlies for winning the KIJHL championship. They beat Nelson 4 games to 1 to complete a giant turn around after quite a poor season in 2008-09. Troy Mick and the rest of the ownership group deserve a lot of praise for showing how quickly a team can go from the bottom to the top with the right people in charge.
I also think Nelson deserves a big congrats for making it to the KIJHL finals for the third time in the past four season. I got a chance to call their roads games in the semi-finals and finals. They're a very talented and classy group of young men. They're also a very young group who perhaps fell victim to the veteran defensive core on the Grizzlies when they made it to the finals. I still would have to say the Leafs organization should be very proud of their record over the past four years.
The KIJHL does have to fix their playoff system though. It seems ridiculous to me that the top two teams in the Okanagan would get a bye while the top two teams in the Kootenays had to play in the first round. I'm not saying that Revelstoke's victory is tainted by this unbalanced format, but it's just not very professional in my view. Can you imagine the NHL's Eastern Conference giving a bye to their top teams but the West being forced to play? Of course not. It has to be fair and consistent throughout the entire league.
Both organizations had deep teams who played smart and skilled hockey. They are both examples of what the KIJHL strives to achieve. It was a pleasure being able to extend my own broadcast season by taking part.
That ends another season of play by play for me here in the West Kootenay. I know my girlfriend will be happy to have me around more (at least I hope she will!) but I know I'll miss the headset after a while. A few months off is nice, but sometimes these off seasons seem to go on way too long. How about an August 1rst start?
Coming up I'll be doing an update on Smokies alumni (a BCIHL champion and a historic NCAA win) as well as a preview of the BCHL Championship with the local participants. Nelson's Mitch Labreche and the Powell River Kings will take on Montrose's Jones Twins and the Vernon Vipers. This is the fifth consecutive year Labreche and the Jones' will go head to head in the playoffs dating back to their days with Nelson and Beaver Valley in the KIJHL. I also want to do some more analysis of this year's Smokies club when I have some time.