Hockey Season is Upon Us

The hockey wasn’t great but the World Junior Showcase did provide some good air conditioning !
Crowd counts fell below expectations for the four country event, and at times, so did the play of the respective teams, leaving one saying “what do you expect in the first week of August”.
Take it for what it was, an exhibition involving four countries, Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland in the preliminary stages of assembling and assessing their talent for the real thing, the World Jr. Championship starting after Christmas in Vancouver and Victoria. That`s five months from now!!
The calibre of play was somewhat sloppy, but got better with each passing day to the point where the final round robin game between Canada and the U.S. managed to salvage the week with the home team eaking out a 6-5 win that came down to the wire after the Canadians had squandered a 5-2 lead.
The Showcase result aside, the mini tournament spoke volumes about how much work the players and coaches have in front of them leading up to the real thing after Christmas. They will all have almost five months to improve.
I liked what I saw from three 18 year old defencemen, Calen Addison of Lethbridge, Ty Smith of Spokane and, Jet Woo of Moose Jaw. Coach Tim Hunter may also have Josh Brook from his own Warriors to watch with Brook not in camp. Addison looked good on the power play and showed heart defensively. Smith’s overall savvy and, Woo’s complete game with a physical edge should serve him and the team well.
Up front, Portland’s Cody Glass should be a lock for a spot along with Michael Rasmussen who were late cuts last year, while, Jaret Anderson Dolan of Spokane has made huge strides. Jordy Bellerive of Lethbridge and, Justin Almeida of Moose Jaw weren’t available but will be monitored into the season if they’re available.
Hot on the heels of the Showcase was this week’s Blazers Alumni golf tournament, followed by training camp when players report August 23rd, followed by three days of camp, August 24-26, the blue-white game two days later and the first exhibition game August 31st
Blazers GM Matt Bardsley was on Vancouver Island for the BC Under 16 elite camp last week and head coach Serge Lajoie is in Edmonton for the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. Lajoie and assistant coach Dan Kordic will be in Kamloops after the tournament, rolling up their sleeves for the new season. Aaron Keller and Chris Murray will be assisting them in the upcoming season.
By the end of the month you will also have junior camps starting for the Merritt Centennials, Kamloops Storm and Chase Heat, midget camps for both of this year’s editions of the Thompson Blazers and of course minor hockey programs and the KMHA is richer by $10,000, having realized revenues from the Showcase 50-50 draws
So yes, the hockey season is upon us.
Embrace it any way you’d like, even if it’s only to be in some air conditioning as we march through this hot spell.
For some, it’s the best of both worlds, but DO take time to enjoy many other things being served up, even if it gives ‘cold one’ a different meaning.