The Rebels aren't the only team in the league to lose money, according to President Jim Craig. He told me last night the league may discuss playing fewer inter-conference games when they meet for their AGM in Chase (ironically enough), as travel is getting more expensive as the league spreads out further across southern BC. He also told me the Rebels will apply this year for provincial funding, which has been reinstated by the Campbell government.
But Craig, and the rest of the Rebels board, are optimistic about next season. He tells me the team will make an effort to engage themselves more with the community, and in turn be more visible within it. And while they're still looking for volunteers and billet families for out-of-town players (anybody who is interested in helping out can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org), Craig says many of last year's players hope to be back if they don't end up finding opportunities at higher levels of hockey. Rebels coach Steve Junker and Trail Smoke Eaters coach/GM Jim Ingram are also said to be discussing a better working relationship between the two clubs, which could bode well for recruiting as well as development.
All in all, the team looks like they're on the right track, with the search for new recruits already underway, and plans being made to improve the game-night and off-ice product as well.
To hear my conversation with Rebels president Jim Craig, click here.
Bits and Bites: Nelson hired Chris Shaw as their new coach and general manager. He comes to the Leafs from the Penticton Lakers, where he spent last year as an assistant. He's also been an assistant with Alberni Valley in the BCHL. We'll see how he does filling the shoes of former Leaf bench boss Simon Wheeldon, who stepped down last month. The BCHL's Williams Lake Timberwolves have been suspended by the league's board of governors. Shawn Mullin has more on his blog. One wonders whether former Rebel Anthony DeLong (9-14-23 in 56 games in 2009-10) will come back to Castlegar if he isn't able to find a spot on another Junior A team.