Sports

Later schedule more amenable to hockey fans

I don’t know if it has been induced by climate change, but the BCHL seems to have been moved to permanently push its schedule to align closer to that of the NHL, and the cooler weather we associate with our game.

The Smoke Eater camp is less than two weeks away, but it will be three weeks more before they play a game in earnest and the first home regular season game is a full month after camp closes.

I do not know the logistics, of recruiting in particular, for BCHL teams, but a month seems a long time to have a team assembled without meaningful games on the calendar. The type of scheduling the league has adopted seems much more amenable to such as the WHL, which, trust me, worries less about players attending school and training programs than Junior A leagues.

It probably isn’t a bad thing for the younger, amateur players at the BCHL level to have almost a month to acclimatize to their surroundings and school/work schedules, but imposing a near-NHL style agenda will require a different style of coaching and training on management teams used to having their squads in the heat of battle at just about the time schools open.

Three weeks with only practice and the odd exhibition game involved seems like a formula to tax teenagers’ patience - and the wiles of a coaching staff which needs to keep them involved in the team’s process and goals.

Here’s hoping that along with the changes in the league is a change in the Smoke Eaters fortunes - they, and we, need a positive year.

I am hopeful about the roster so far - it has changed a lot of personnel, for good or ill is to be seen,  gotten a bit younger and contains seven players at least with college commitments  (which means other coaches see potential in them, too).

It’s a good move, too, by the Smokies to extend the early bird ticket prices to go along with the extension of the off season.  You now have another week to get the bargains.

Funny to think the shorter-season KIJHL team will have half a dozen regular season games under their belts before the Smokies host their first at Cominco arena. Might be good for attendance at the Hawks’ Nest.

Lots of hot weather yet, but hockey season is on its way. Getting to be time to transition from Laking to home and hockey.

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