To paraphrase a quote from Mark Twain, “The reports of the Grand Forks Border Bruins’ demise was an exaggeration.”
While there were reports that the team might fold and relocate to 100 Mile House, interim head coach Matt Zamec said that the team will be back for the 2012/13 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) season.
“There are a couple of towns that are trying to get into the league and I think the rumours just got started because, when you look at the standings (the Grand Forks Border Bruins are 1-37 as of Jan. 11) people start jumping to conclusions and assume, ‘Oh that must be the team that’s moving,’” Zamec explained.
“The team’s not moving and everybody on the board and everybody that’s involved – all our volunteers and myself – we’re all determined to keep the team in place. We’re trying to figure out Editorialhow to make this sustainable and successful five years down the road.”
Zamec admitted that this was a difficult season and said that rebuilding the Grand Forks Border Bruins will take some time.
He said player turnover is amongst the things hampering the team.
“What’s really killing us is the retention of players,” Zamec went on to say.
“We have such a high turnover. If you look at a team like Castlegar (Rebels) they probably have 10 guys back from last year. Year after year, they have five, 10 guys back. We have one guy back (defenseman Brendan Jackson).”
Zamec said that some of last year’s players that didn’t return are thriving elsewhere – he pointed to Kale Erickson and Dylan Sahara who are amongst the top point-getters on the Penticton Lakers and also Zach Thompson (last year’s leading scorer for Grand Forks) who is leading his team in Alberta.
“We really need to get the community involved and get enthusiastic and take pride in the team and I know it’s hard when things are going the way they are, so they need to see some promise but if we can retain some of these guys and start building on that and get the feeling in the community that these are our Bruins, that we need to support them, then things are going to fall into place,” he said.
On the ice, the Border Bruins suffered a 10-0 loss at home to the Castlegar Rebels on Friday, followed by a 5-2 road loss to the Nelson Leafs on Saturday and another loss to the Rebels in Castlegar on Sunday this time by a final of 16-2.
The second period of Friday’s game saw a scary incident where forward Seth Cory suffered a deep wrist cut – he left the game and was taken to hospital but was OK.
“He got a laceration after contact with a skate to his right wrist,” explained Border Bruins team trainer David Grootjes.
“It flayed him pretty good but he’s got about 10 stitches – he should be back in about two to three weeks.”
Cory returned to Grand Forks Arena before the game concluded and seemed in good spirits.
“I’m feeling good. I got pretty lucky where it got cut. It didn’t hit a tendon or anything so hopefully I’ll be back in a few weeks,” Cory said after the game.
“There was a mad scramble in front of the net and (a Rebel player) kept slashing our goalie and I just hit him, fell over the top of my skates and the guy’s skate came up and cut the bottom of my wrist there.”
The Border Bruins have two home games this week: Thursday, Jan. 12 against Beaver Valley in Grand Forks and Saturday, Jan. 14 vs. Penticton. That game will be at the rec centre in Midway.