Saturday, September 17, 2011

Gameday: Smoke Eaters vs. WolfPack

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters vs. Thompson Rivers WolfPack
When: Sept. 17, 7:00 PM
Where: Cominco Arena, Trail

Hockey is secondary tonight, plain and simple. The Smokies and WolfPack are playing tonight's exhibition game to raise funds for the family of assistant coach Barry Zanier, whose daughter Kolby has been in Edmonton receiving medical treatment for several months.

Everyone involved with the Smoke Eaters organziation would love nothing more than to see a jam-packed Cominco Arena tonight (especially the players, if Twitter is any indication), and the $6 ticket price will go a long way to (hopefully) raising thousands of dollars for a member of the Smokies family in need.

As for the game itself, the Smokies will have one last pre-season crack at things before the regular season gets going next Friday night against the Westside Warriors. A 4-2 loss in Vernon saw the club start shakily but hold serve against the three-time defending national champions from minutes 10 through 60 last night at Wesbild Centre.

It's also the last chance for those bubble players (of which there aren't many) to make a final impression on the coaching staff before Trail's final roster is announced early next week.

Our Opponent: Thompson Rivers will provide a unique challenge, being a group made up of mainly non junior-aged players. They are a consistent threat in the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League, but opened up their BCIHL pre-season last night with a 2-2 draw at home to Okanagan College. Former Prince George Cougar Tyler Halliday featured on TRU's squad last year, as did former Castlegar Rebel defenseman Cody Rose, but this year's recruiting class includes someone even more familiar to the Cominco faithful, d-man Curtis Tonello, who played out his junior eligibility with the Smokies last season.

Broadcast Info: no audio/video tonight, but my Twitter account will have regular updates. We begin our 45-game Smokies web broadcast schedule with the regular-season home opener next Friday.

Out Of Town: Two of our four local KIJHL teams hit the road looking to bounce back from shutouts against the teams they were shut out by. Castlegar visits Nelson (7:00, NDCC) after dropping a 3-0 decision at home last night thanks to two goals from Smokies tryout Patrick Martens. Beaver Valley plays their first regular season home game tonight as well against a Grand Forks club they defeated 13-0 in the Boundary last night.

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