Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Mountain FM Ashes will be held in...

That is Mountain FM's Drex and myself (in a horribly wrinkled shirt...) holding the new container for The Ashes. What the heck is that you ask? How about we take a closer look.

I know it's not fancy, but that is part of the point. What is important is what is inside of the the pipe bom---er canister. I actually think that having a pipe like that is kind of a fun representation of the blue collar attitude that makes Trail the proud community it is. We'll play with it a bit to make it look a little more regal before the tournament itself. That being said, I like that it isn't just some traditional urn or trophy. You can't argue that it isn't unique.

Who will win the Mountain FM Ashes? Head to the official website and vote in our poll. Check out Overtime tomorrow night for interviews with Kent Lewis of the Powell River Kings and Penticton play by play man Ryan Pinder. Tonight we talk Nelson Leafs training camp and the Grand Forks International.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ingram discusses the Vernon games

Smokies Coach and GM Jim Ingram on Mountain FM's Overtime

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Exhibition Game 2: Vernon 4 Trail 3

We saw some scoring out of the Smokies prospects tonight as they fell 4-3 against Vernon in Chase. After getting shut out 4-0 on Friday, Dylan Tappe (92 from the Spokane Braves - pictured from camp), Adam Boytink (92 from Grande Prairie AAA Midget) and Chris Derochie (92 from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks) scored for Trail tonight.

This time around it was Matt Larose and Zach Perehudoff in goal for the Smokies. Again reports indicate they both played well in a losing cause. I don't think the decision on the back-up goaltender got that much easier this weekend. All four goaltenders have made a strong case for themselves. What is going to help one of these goalies separate themselves from the pack?

Losing both games isn't really relevant in this case. The main point of this trip again was for the Smokies staff to get a look at how their young guys can stand up to some legit competition. Now I imagine they'll have a lot to consider as they get set for the pre-season tournament this week. Who will still be on the Smokies roster for the Mountain FM Ashes? At that point we'll start to see some of the veterans come back in to the line-up. That means there is only room for so many prospects come Thursday. That will mean some decisions for the coaches coming up soon.

As for the Vipers, I don't know their goal scorers or anything as I wasn't at the game. That said, reports indicate that the young core for this year's Vipers will be very talented as usual. There is a lot of very good talent on that club again this year. The big question mark will be whether or not they can match the historic runs their last two teams have had.

Thanks to Chase for hosting the Smokies for these exhibition games this weekend. Hopefully it was a nice treat for fans in the area after they lost their KIJHL team this spring. They should be getting another franchise next fall.

Exhibition Game 1: Vernon 4 Trail 0

Unfortunately due to work commitments I was unable to attend the two exhibition games in Chase this weekend. As such my access to details of the games has been somewhat limited. The BCHL doesn't require box scores for exhibition either.

I was able to talk to a couple of people and rustled up some very minor details. For one, Matthew Laboucane was again impressive for Trail in the game. You can see him here in a photo from the inter-squad game throwing a huge hit next to the bench. Laboucane is an energy guy with a lot of jam and pretty good touch as well. In the same game as he threw a couple of huge hits I also saw him win a tenacious battle for the puck and make a pass from his knees to set up a scoring chance. This is a player to watch.

He played last season for the Cold Lake Ice in Alberta Junior B. He is sure making a case for himself so far.

Goaltenders Andrew Walton (91 from the Castlegar Rebels) and Mike Vlanich (92 from the Beaver Valley Nitehawks) shared duties last night. I hear they both played well and I would think that will continue to keep things interesting in the battle for the back-up spot. I am under the impression that we'll see two other goaltenders today. That would likely mean Matt Larose (92 from the Nelson Leafs) and Zach Perehudoff (93 from the Okanagan Hockey Academy) in goal tonight.

Again it is worth mentioning that the Smokies left almost all their returning vets at home this weekend. These games are a test to see how the young prospects will do in a competitive environment. It's more about player evaluation than team results. We'll see I think a more game ready Smokies squad at the Mountain FM Ashes tournament starting Thursday.

By the way if you want some more pictures from training camp check out the Trail Smoke Eaters Facebook page and click on photos. I want to see that page get over 200 "likes" before the start of the regular season!

Also I just wanted to mention I was reading reports from the Spokane Chiefs camp full of praise and admiration for the courage and toughness of Josh "Mad Dog" McEwan. They don't know the half of it yet! It wouldn't surprise anyone here to know that Josh isn't backing down from anyone at camp and won't stop throwing punches until he is physicall pulled away from the battle. That's the McEwan we know and will miss if he makes Spokane.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Prospect Weekend in Chase

This picture is of 16 year old Dallas Calvin trying to catch up with veteran Travis St. Denis. That's what this weekend in Chase is all about. Prospects trying to show they belong with the vets.

From quickly communicating with a couple of people this week it was obvious that the games tonight and tomorrow against Vernon are all about evaluating prospects. Both the Vipers and Smoke Eaters are leaving most of their veterans at home while they take a close look at which young guys might be ready to make the jump.

So this weekend will be the BCHL version of an NHL prospect tournament. It will be an opportunity for the young guys to shine when going head to head with one another. Only the truly hungry players will survive and make the impression they need to make.

For the Smokies the focus remains primarily on filling out their forward unit. It'll be harder for any rookies to break through on the back end (that's not a given mind you), but there is room for between 5 and 7 rookie forwards depending on how things shape up. Some guys may think they're locks or sure things, but if you get out played in these games by the other hungry prospects suddenly you can find yourself on the outside looking in. As much as the games don't mean anything for the standings they mean a whole heck of a lot in determining the look of both clubs.

While Trail does have a large returning core, Vernon has had a big turnover after back to back national championships. The Smokies will get a first hand perspective on the future core of the always powerful Vipers. It will be good to see how their young prospects will match up with the Vernon recruits.

Can one of the 16 year olds break through this weekend? Will a defenceman show enough that Coach Ingram has to reconsider keeping all his veterans? With Kiefer Smiley staying at home for the Chase trip which goaltender will emerge as the favourite for the back-up spot this season?

There are a lot of questions to answer. I'm not in Chase due to work commitments but I'll do my best to let you know what went down tonight and tomorrow. I think we'll see a much trimmer and more veteran heavy roster when it comes time for the Mountain FM Ashes pre-season tournament next weekend. Should be fun.

The Mountain FM Ashes (Exhibition Tournament)

TRAIL, BC – The Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey Club is proud to announce that Mountain FM has come on board as the title sponsor for the Smokies annual exhibition tournament. The event is now known as the Mountain FM Ashes and takes place from September 2nd-4th.

The concept is based on a cricket series between England and Australia dating back to 1882. The winner of the series is awarded an urn carrying ashes of some form of burned cricket equipment. Mountain FM and the Smoke Eaters are now bringing a form of that tradition to the BCHL pre-season event.

During the tournament there will be a symbolic burning to create the ashes that will be awarded to the tournament winner. Since it is only a round robin event the winner will be decided by team records and a list of tie breakers.

“The team at Mountain FM is super excited about presenting the first annual Mountain FM Ashes,” says station program director and morning show host Drex. “It's a great concept for the Smokies and their pre-season tournament.”

“We hope the Smokies can bring it home.”

In addition to sponsoring the tournament, Mountain FM is also entering their 6th season as the radio home of the Smoke Eaters. The station broadcasts every Smokies road game at 104.1 FM in Trail and covers the team extensively on their nightly sports show “Overtime.”

Last year's event was the first of it's kind in Trail and drew over a dozen NCAA schools.

The tournament will include the Smoke Eaters, Penticton Vees, Powell River Kings and Brooks Bandits.

Powell River is the two-time defending BCHL Coastal Conference Champion. They were one game away from representing the BCHL in the 2010 Royal Bank Cup.

Penticton was the third place team in the final CJHL regular season national rankings. 18 Vees on last season's roster earned commitments from NCAA schools.

Brooks brings representation from the AJHL. They finished fifth in the South Division and advanced to the second round of the playoffs in 2009-10.

Here is the schedule for the event:

Thursday, September 2nd
4:30pm Penticton vs Powell River
7:30pm Brooks vs Trail

Friday, September 3rd
4:30pm Brooks vs Penticton
7:30pm Powell River vs Trail

Saturday, September 4th
10:30am Powell River vs Brooks
1pm Penticton vs Trail

Tickets are available at the door or you can purchase a 6 game pack for $20 at Remax All Pro-Realty in Trail.


For more information on the 2010 Mountain FM Ashes Trail Smoke Eaters exhibition tournament, visit http://www.trailsmokeeaters.com/ or http://www.mountainfm.net/

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Training Camp Day 3: Inter-Squad Game

Today the Smokies wrapped up training camp with the annual inter-squad game. It is sometimes called the black and orange game or the black and white or orange and white... in this case they wore blue and white so we'll just call it the inter-squad game. The coaching staff told me the 60+ person roster was cut down by 10-15 players heading into the game, but there are still a lot of decisions to make. This wasn't close to the final roster we'll see come September 10th as there were still eight 16 year olds with the club as of game time. There is a very impressive group of 94s and 95s out of the West Kootenay. 15 year old Dryden Hunt has been drawing all kinds of raves this week for his play. He'll be a future star for this team after spending this season playing for Simon Wheeldon and Brent Heaven's Major Midget club.

The game started well, but you could see once they hit the third period that the guys had run out of gas. They all played this morning and had been on the ice consistently throughout the last three days. It showed in the later part of this game. We also didn't see a few of the veteran players like Kiefer Smiley, Paul Mailey, Steve Koshey, Sam Mellor and Brett Slobodzian. Here is the summary:


1. [17:01] Team Whtie - Cullen Bradshaw (Penalty Shot)


2. [0:54] Team Blue - Logan Proulx (Travis St. Denis, Dylan Tappe)
*Nice passing play*

3. [3:33] Team Blue - Keanan Patershuk
*Puck hit the back boards and went off the back of the goalie*

4. [9:12] Team White - Curtis Tonello (Cullen Bradshaw, Rajan Sidhu) PP
*Tonello knocks in the rebound of Bradshaw's shot*


No Scoring


5. [3:56] Team White - Dallas Calvin (Ben Matthews, Jesse Knowler)
*See the video on top of this post*


No shot totals but Matt LaRose and Andrew Walton each allowed 2 goals in their half. Mike Vlanich allowed only the OT winner in his half. Zach Perehudoff had a shut out.


G Matt LaRose (92)
G Mike Vlanich (92)

D Graeme Strukoff (91)
D L. Koentges (92)
D Eric Walker (93)
D Ryan Dixon (94)
D Walker Sidoni (94)
D Easton Bodeux (94)

F Thomas Abenante (90)
F Travis St. Denis (92)
F Logan Proulx (91)
F Jamie Vlanich (93)
F Keanan Patershuk (93)
F B. McDonald (93)
F Tanner Burns (93)
F Ben Greenaway (93)
F Scott Morriseau (91)
F Dylan Tappe (92)
F K. Petit (92)


G Andrew Walton (91)
G Zach Perehudoff (93)

D Curtis Tonello (90)
D Rajan Sidhu (91)
D Clayton McEwan (91)
D Braden Hikichi (92)
D Ben Matthews (91)
D M. Carr (94)

F Matt Laboucaine (91)
F D. Lynum (93)
F Cullen Bradshaw (90)
F Dallas Calvin (94)
F Joey Baker (93)
F Adam Wheeldon (94)
F Jesse Knowler (94)
F Dryden Hunt (95)
F Beau Blanaru (92)
F Diego Bartlett (94)
F Adam Boytinck (92)


Just quickly wanted to mention that recently acquired defenecman Cole Gelley has left the Smokies. Jim Ingram confirmed today that Gelley felt that "Trail isn't his place" and he went back home to the lower mainland. I don't know Gelley from a hole in the wall outside of one interview where he seemed very enthusiastic about the opportunity. Based on that conversation I was very surprised to hear Gelley took off so quickly, but I suppose we can't judge without walking a mile in another man's shoes. I'm sure he wants to be traded back home but if he is narrowing his choices down to teams in that region he certainly is lowering the chances that a move can be made.

Ultimately the Smoke Eaters were going to have to relieve themselves of at least one veteran defenceman as they had eight of them coming into camp. This departure just opens the door even further for a guy like Clayton McEwan to bring his year of BCHL experience into Trail's line-up. This team is deep enough that it certainly doesn't have to beg anyone to play here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Training Camp Day 2: Bill Birks Interview, Camp Thoughts

I caught up with new Smokies Assistant Coach Bill Birks at Day 2 of training camp. Bill is obviously beyond pumped to be back in a coaching role in the BCHL and that kind of enthusiasm is contagious. Again for the second straight day I heard a lot of comments around the Cominco Arena about how talented and skilled the 60 players at this camp looked. You've got to be excited about the possibilities.

Everyone has their own opinion about what potential rookies are making an early impression. We've seen in previous seasons what a big push in camp can do. Travis St. Denis and Grame Strukoff were set to start the 2008-2009 season in Beaver Valley and Nelson respectively until they came to camp and proved they belonged in Trail. Eric Walker walked into Smokies camp last season as a 16 year old and was a no doubt selection from basically day one. This year a number of 16 year olds like Dallas Calvin and Ryan Dixon are doing everything they can to make a case for themselves.

It is always an up hill climb for a 16 year old to show they belong in the league. Even if they can handle some minutes in the BCHL you have to ask whether or not those 94s would be better off getting serious minutes on one of the local KIJHL teams or on the Major Midget team with new coaches Simon Wheeldon and Brent Heaven. Ultimately with players of that age it's a marathon not a sprint. As much as you want to have all the good young talents locked up and secured, the Smokies will do what they think is best for those players and hope that pays off for both parties down the line.


For those wondering what spots are open I figured I'd take a look at where returning veterans and announced commitments are slotted in. Now that doesn't mean that those veterans can't be pushed. We've talked a lot about how many veteran defencemen there are at camp, but a rookie can force their way onto the team by out working and out playing one or more of those vets. Here is how things stand (random lines here) with the returning players:

(92) Travis St. Denis (90) Scott Jacklin (92) Sam Mellor
(90) Brett Slobodzian (90) Cullen Bradshaw (90) Paul Mailey
(91) Logan Proulx (90) Thomas Abenante (91) Josh McEwan
(92) Dylan Tappe

(91) Steve Koshey (91) Ben Matthews
(91) Grame Strukoff (90) Curtis Tonello
(93) Eric Walker (91) Rajan Sidhu
(91) Cole Gelley

(90) Kiefer Smiley

A couple of quick notes to mention. You heard Bill Birks say in the interview that Clayton McEwan is also in camp. Josh's cousin played a strong rookie season in Prince George and Williams Lake last season. He was a free agent due to the Timberwolves folding and is going to push for a spot on the veteran Smokies blue line.

Josh McEwan is headed to the Spokane Chiefs camp. He'll join another Smokies property in Mike Betz at that camp. Best of luck to both guys in making the club there. Betz has a ton of skill and if he can put it all together he could be dominant offensively, but nobody works harder and has more heart than McEwan. That mad dog will fight anyone... as long as they're bigger than him. Players at that camp would do well not to underestimate him.

One of the questions Smokies staff will have to answer before the puck drops on the regular season is what to do about the 20 year old situation. There are too many 1990s on the roster as it is and one will have to be moved or released. As Birks says, it is better to have tough decisions than easy ones. I suspect there will still be a lot to decide by the time we get to the exhibition games in Chase and the pre-season tournament here in Trail.

The final day of camp goes tomorrow with games at 9:15am, 10:30am and the Orange/Black game at 2pm.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Training Camp Day 1: Ingram Interview

This is a bit of an experiment with the iPhone video to see how well it works. The audio levels are not remotely balanced I'll have to work on how to get the subject to sound better. I know it's a little shaky, but what do you think? Just a test run for now.

Join us on Facebook & Twitter

The Trail Smoke Eaters now have official Facebook and Twitter pages. We'll be posting event details and up to date information on the page. It is also going to be an opportunity for discussion. We want your feedback on things like music you like to hear at games or promotional activities you'd like to see at the Cominco Arena this season. Come and join the page... invite your friends too! Don't forget to check out the training camp games tonight at 5pm and 6:30pm at the Cominco Arena. Hockey season is here!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Training Camp Audio and Schedule

Smokies training camp opens up on Monday morning at 8:30am with registration. There will be 60 players vying for 23 roster spots. They've been split into four teams that will start with practices on Monday and then play a series of inter-squad games. This should be an interesting camp as there are more veteran players here than there have been at least since Coach Ingram's first camp.

That being said, the scouting network has been scouring Western Canada for top young players and hidden gems. Just because a player was on a BCHL roster last year it doesn't guarantee them anything. The message of my recent chat with Coach Ingram is that everyone is going to have to earn a spot on this club. That may sound like a cliche, but with Trail's potential depth this season there is no room for passengers.

I had the chance to catch up wtih the coach, one of the new faces and a returning Alaskan Elk this week on Overtime.

Smokies Coach and GM Jim Ingram

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Smoke Eaters Forward Brett Slobodzian

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Smoke Eaters Defenceman Ben Matthews

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Monday, August 23rd

10:00-11:00am- Practice Team Red

11:30-12:30pm- Practice Team White

1:00-2:00pm- Practice Team Yellow

2:30-3:30pm- Practice Team Blue

5:00-6:15pm- Game #1 Red vs White

6:45-8:00pm- Game #2 Yellow vs Blue

Tuesday, August 24th

9:00am-10:15am- White vs Yellow

10:45-12:00- Blue vs Red

1:00pm-2:00pm- Goalie Session

4:00pm-5:15pm- White vs Blue

6:00pm-7:15pm- Yellow vs Red

Wednesday, August 25th

9:15-10:15am- 3 vs 4

10:30-11:30am- 1 vs 2

2:00pm-4:00pm Smokie Inter-Squad Game

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sidhu Interview

New Smoke Eaters Defenceman Rajan Sidhu

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Kehler and Williams Interviews, Fight Rules

It's been a summer of change for Tim Kehler. The WHL's Swift Current Broncos didn't renew his contract as assistant coach after three seasons in Saskatchewan. However, it didn't take long for the former Smokies Coach to find a new home. Kehler is back in the BCHL with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. I had the chance recently to chat with him about returning to the Junior A ranks, his time in Trail, how he changed as a coach in the WHL and how much control he'll have over hockey ops in Salmon Arm. I also caught up with Silverbacks owner Randy Williams to discuss why Kehler is the right guy and general operations in Salmon Arm.

Salmon Arm Coach and GM Tim Kehler

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Salmon Arm Owner Randy Williams

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I told you a couple of months back on this blog about the new fight rules in the BCHL. The league has now released details of their agreement with other Junior A leagues and Hockey Canada. I continue to have a problem with the term "bullying" as I frankly don't think that suits much of what we ever see in the BCHL. I applaud the leauges in doing what they can to limit dangerous hits. However, I am not sure the six fight limit is in the best interests of the game. It's better than Hockey Canada imposing much stricter rules, but I don't see the change as an overall positive.

We'll have an interview with Rajan Sidhu and a training camp preview coming up on the blog before the end of the weekend. You can check out the training camp schedule by clicking here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cowichan trades Sidhu to Trail

The Trail Smoke Eaters have continued to add to their veteran depth on the blue line with the addition of Rajan Sidhu from the Cowichan Valley Capitals today. The deal is for future considerations and is also part of clearing up any futures Cowichan owed Trail in a complicated arrangement dating back to the Colin Lidster for Mitch Kaufmann trade to Alberta. The bottom line is Sidhu for futures.

In Sidhu the Smokies get another potential hidden gem of an offensive defenceman. He put up 3 goals and 15 assists in only 43 games for Cowichan last season. Take those numbers and project them for a full season, and we're talking about 25 points. With the Smokies last season that would've been enough to finish second among defencemen. As a rookie on a struggling team you can't complain about that kind of production.

Sidhu also has good size at 6'3 and 190lbs. He was also a scoring force in Junior B. He scored 21 points in 37 games as a 16 year old before following that up with 32 points in 36 games as a 17 year old. In his second season he had started the year with Penticton before going back to Richmond. I'm sure in the end he didn't mind as the Sockeyes went on to not only win the PIJHL Championship, but the Cyclone Taylor (over Nelson) and Keystone Cups as well. He put up 15 points in 24 playoff games over two seasons in Richmond as well.

As you can see from his profile on the PIJHL website he is also an academic achiever who was the MVP of the Mission Super Series Tournament at 10 years of age. He also enjoys playing golf and basketball. I'm sure if that's the case he won't mind the beautiful courses we have out here.

I'll try to get Rajan on the phone tomorrow and we'll see if we can get him on Overtime.

This certainly makes training camp even more interesting on the back end. This move and the Cole Gelley addition recently brings the number of defencemen with at least one year of BCHL experience up to 7. There might even be more than that depending on who we see at camp. Could we see the Smoke Eaters keep 8 defencemen out of camp like they did two years ago? If not there are going to be some very tough decisions for the coaching staff. The vets better come to camp with their working boots on.

The players are already starting to make that trip in to Trail with camp set to go on Monday. I had the chance to catch up with Ben Matthews and Brett Slobodzian so far this week. I'll have that for you on the blog shortly. That and those promised interviews with Tim Kehler and Randy Williams. I've been a bit distracted but we're back on course heading into Monday.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gelley, Smokies Camp, Tournament Schedule, KIJHL roster news

Here's a picture of Cole Gelley defending Graeme Strukoff last season at the Cominco Arena. Thanks to Randy Emery for that. As noted in Guy Bertrand's Trail Times article, Gelley and Strukoff were drafted one spot away from each other in the WHL Bantam draft several years back. Now they'll find themselves playing together. Here is the press release I wrote up for the Smokies website:

TRAIL, BC - Trail Smoke Eaters Coach and GM Jim Ingram announced today that the Smokies have acquired defenceman Cole Gelley and future considerations from the Surrey Eagles in exchange for defenceman Wade Bennett and forward Robert Lindores.

"Cole is a real good skating, puck moving defenceman that can quarterback a power play," said Ingram. "I think that's something we wanted to make sure we had (enough of) in the line-up."

Gelly, 19, recorded one goal, 19 assists (1-19-20) and 26 penalty minutes in 58 games with the Eagles last season. Gelley made his BCHL debut as an AP in 2007-08 and has played 101 career regular season games with the Eagles. Prior to that he played 75 games in Major Midget, recording 27 points (6-19-27) and 66 penalty minutes for the Vancouver North West Giants.

"It's a good opportunity and I'm excited to come up there," said Gelley. "I don't think my point totals really represent how much of an offensive player I am."

"I feel I have way more in the tank than that."

The move was partly necessitated by the number of returning 20 year old players on Trail's roster.

"There's no secret that we were top heavy with 1990 birth years," said Ingram.

This deal combined with the recent trade of Garrett Beckwith to Drumheller in the AJHL and the departure of Tom Rizzardo to Bizmark of the NAHL, trims Trail's number of 1990 born players from 10 to 7 before training camp. BCHL teams can only carry 6 of them once the puck drops for the regular season.

Bennett, 20, scored 3 goals and 19 assists (3-19-22) as a forward and defenceman with the Smoke Eaters last season. Lindores, 19, has scored 6 goals and 9 assists (6-9-15) over 89 career games with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. He became Trail property as the future considerations in the Tye Lewis for Curtis Tonello trade.

As noted in the press release, the 20 year old log jam was reduced further as Tom Rizzardo has opted to play for Bizmark in the North American Hockey League. Tommy is a classy young man who has a lot of offensive talent. He proved that with Nelson during their KIJHL championship run in 2009. I hope he is able to translate that to the Junior A level with Bizmark.

That leaves Trail with seven 1990 born players in training camp. There's nothing wrong with a little healthy competition among veterans to make sure these guys aren't taking their spots for granted. We know camp is always competitive among rookies trying to make the club. This situation should make sure the vets are fighting for their jobs too.

The addition of Gelley ensures that barring any other moves the Smokies are going to have a veteran defensive unit this season. Gelley, Steve Koshey, Graeme Strukoff and Curtis Tonello are entering their third BCHL seasons while it will be the second for Eric Walker and Ben Matthews. There is room for one or two rookies to make the roster and learn with that group. However, that is a big step up from last September when the club was throwing 4 or 5 rookies over the boards every night. I'm sure goaltender Kiefer Smiley is thanking his lucky stars there will be some veteran help early on this year.

Training camp gets started on August 23rd with registration at 8:30am. The camp will run for three days and then the Smokies have a couple of exhibition games in Chase against Vernon.


The second annual Smokies pre-season tournament will run from Thursday, September 2nd to Saturday, September 4th. Here is the schedule:

Thursday, September 2nd
4:30pm Penticton vs Powell River
7:30pm Brooks vs Trail

Friday, September 3rd
4:30pm Brooks vs Penticton
7:30pm Powell River vs Trail

Saturday, September 4th
10:30am Powell River vs Brooks
1pm Penticton vs Trail

I'll do my best to get the arena as much as possible for the games. You can also likely count on some live coverage of the games on Ryan Pinder's Vees Blog. He did some live blogging from it lats year.


A couple of moves in the KIJHL last week. First a trade that saw Grand Forks send PIM king Jacob Halderman to Columbia Valley for defencemen Zack MacLellan and Jordan Groenheyde. MacLellan was Columbia Valley's All-Star game rep. Both teams finished last in their division last season and are hoping for bounce back seasons. Can't hurt the Border Bruins to get a couple of young d-men with experience in the league. They finished well last year and I'm really hoping to see them continue to push forward. The community will really get behind them if they continue making progress. Check out the Off the Wahl blog for more.

New Nelson Leafs Coach and GM Chris Shaw announced this week that they've received a commitment from four of last year's veterans to return in September. F Gavin Currie, F Cody Abbey, D Tyler Parfeniuk and D Taylor O'Neil will all be back in Nelson. O'Neil and Currie both played as APs for Trail last season. Taylor is the Leafs Captain while Currie was their top forward in 2009-10. They should form a very strong core for Shaw to build around.

New Castlegar Coach and GM Steve Junker also announced that they'll be getting a couple of veteran talents back this season. Tough forward Taylor Anderson and top defenceman Darren Tarasoff have committed to return to the Rebels. Anderson was third in the KIJHL in penalty minutes while Tarasoff spent most of last season with Williams Lake in the BCHL. They should both be leaders on Junker's first squad.

Both the Leafs and Rebels will likely get more of last year's players back, but as with all KIJHL teams it is a waiting game until BCHL camps are complete. I've yet to hear much about who is or isn't expected back in Beaver Valley, but I do know they're excited about a lot of the young local talent that will be a part of their club this season.

Mountain FM is the official media partner of the KIJHL and we will continue to be the primary source for KIJHL coverage in the Kootenay-Boundary. If anything our coverage will expand and evolve this season. I'm looking forward to it.

More to come on the blog this week including and interview with former Smokies Coach Tim Kehler on taking over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks this season.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Gelley Interview

Cole Gelley Interview

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Jim Ingram Interview on Gelley

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(Thanks to the Surrey Eagles for the photo of Gelley)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Smokies trade Bennett and Lindores for Gelley

Breaking news this afternoon that the Smoke Eaters have traded 1990 born defenceman/forward Wade Bennett and 1991 born forward Robert Lindores to Surrey for 1991 born defenceman Cole Gelley.

This is another move to help clear the log jam of 1990s on Trail's roster. I'm glad to see someone as classy and hard working as Bennett will stay in the BCHL and have a real opportunity to show what he is capable of doing at this level. It is also a good more for Lindores as he has a connection to the Eagles organization. Lindores was the future considerations in the Tye Lewis deal from Alberni Valley and never played a game as a Smoke Eater.

Gelley is a good skater who has the potential to be an offensive catalyst and power play quarterback from the blue line. In Surrey he went from having 6 points as a rookie to 20 points last season with limited ice in offensive situations. He is a guy that the Smoke Eaters feel will come in and challenge for top minutes on the man advantage.

I'll have more this weekend on Gelley and his background with the Eagles and the Major Midget Vancouver Northwest Giants. Tune in to Mountain FM's Overtime tonight for interviews with Gelley and Smokies Coach Jim Ingram.