To every sport, there is a season
It’s that time of year again.
We aren’t quite into the sports overlap. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s still too early to be taking out the golf clubs.
But winter sports seasons are winding down. With that comes playoffs and provincial championship tournaments.
Message to Prince George sports fans: If you want to see high-calibre hockey, make sure you do it in March. By April, it may be too late.
March is always such a crazy month because of how full the sports picture gets, and how quickly it can change from blurry to clear. A new month begins Friday, one which will be jam packed with activities through the first few weeks.
Yet as crazy as it may sound now, in only a few weeks my sports reporting schedule may be really light. By the March 22 to 24 weekend, the Prince George sports agenda could be really light.
Earlier this month, I mentioned how a part of me was relieved the UNBC basketball season was over. Like other Prince George residents, I want to see our sports teams do well. But giving each program fair coverage is always the challenge in winter and, with UNBC’s Canada West season over, I can focus more on Prince George’s Western Hockey League, B.C. Hockey League and B.C. Major Midget League teams.
How much my schedule changes over the next few weeks depends on the progress of those three organizations. At this point the only one guaranteed to play beyond March 16, the Cougars’ final WHL regular season date, is the BCHL’s Spruce Kings. The Spruce Kings clinched a playoff berth this month and, for the second year in a row, will compete in the BCHL postseason.
Unless they’re passed by the Langley Rivermen, the Spruce Kings will finish third in the five-team Mainland Division and open on the road against the second-place Chilliwack Chiefs. Wins over the Chiefs in their final two regular-season head-to-head meetings are encouraging. But the Chiefs won the season series with six wins in eight games, and playoffs represent a new season.
Barring any arena conflicts, the Spruce Kings and Chiefs will begin a best-of-five series on March 15, playing again in Chilliwack on March 16. Game 3 will be March 18 at the Coliseum.
In the WHL, the Cougars remain hopeful they can sneak into the playoffs. But they’ll need wins and help. As of Monday, they were five points behind the eighth and final playoff spot, held by the Everett Silvertips. The ninth-place Cats have only 10 games remaining.
As for the Cariboo Cougars, they’ve clinched second in the BCMML. As long as they avoid a first-round upset, they’ll get at least two playoff rounds on home ice (March 8 to 10 and March 15 to 17). The BCMML best-of-three championship series runs the weekend of March 22 to 24.
While the city’s hockey teams may get more attention, the sports picture in March includes a lot more. Hockey teams aside, the Prince George sports agenda this weekend includes the annual Northern Football Combine at the Northern Sport Centre (Friday to Sunday), a Spruce Capital Warriors’ boxing card at the Roll-A-Dome (Friday), the Teck Northern Cup Final at the Otway Nordic Centre (Saturday) and the Ladies Bonspiel at the Prince George Golf and Curling Club (Friday to Sunday).
Other events this month include B.C high school senior girls basketball A provincials at the NSC (March 6 to 9), Curl BC juvenile provincials at the PGGCC (March 7 to 10), Judo BC Youth Championships (March 9), the Blue Jays Honda Super Camp at the NSC (March 26 to 28), and the 84th Kelly Cup at the PGGCC (March 28 to 31).
Then there’s the out-of-town championship tournaments involving Prince George teams, and other events in town I didn’t mention.
Adding to my enjoyment is the fact I’m taking two business courses at CNC, and it’s also Outlook season. Outlook is our biggest supplement, an annual Free Press publication that comes out in March.
To my friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances: I apologize in advance if I’m less accessible in March. You have my word that this busy period is only temporary. In a few weeks, I’ll have more spare time.