- I'm looking forward to Kamloops being the center of the bantam scouting universe the next five days. The Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament begins tomorrow morning.
25 teams are taking part including the Tier 1 Jardine Blazers and the Tier 2 Maverick Motor Inn team coached by Blazers goaltending consultant Dan De Palma. The Jardine Blazers have a team which will be picked over come the WHL bantam draft. Top prospects Joe Hicketts and Ryan Gropp are being touted as first rounders.
It'll also be good to see the Swift Current Bantam Kabos Raiders come in along with their coaching staff of Kent Woods, Tracy Tangen and Al Larochelle.
There will be a pair of banquets on Thursday to welcome the players, coaches and parents. I'll be there to emcee the events along with guest speakers from the Blazers. Scouts from all over the land will take part.
Kamloops will also host the BC Cup at the end of the month.
Awaiting word to hear if Blazer F Colin Smith cracked Canada's U-18 roster for the tournament in Germany. Some names have started to trickle out. However, to my knowledge there hasn't been an announcement from Hockey Canada.
You'll notice a new link on the upper right part of the page. It's to Rivershore Golf Links in Kamloops. If you're coming through this summer it's a must play amongst the great tracks out here..
The staff led by General Manager Don Brett-Davies will look after you. You can find it just off the Trans-Canada highway, 15kms just east of Kamloops.
Quite a trip ahead for former Broncos Assistant Coach Tim Kehler. The current Head Coach/General Manager for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks will guide a team of BCHL'ers to Russia later this week to take part in an invitational tournament.
The Hockey Canada sponsored event will send the group overseas for 10 days. There they will spend time at Russia's national training facility and play some of the top junior programs in the world. Kamloops native Devin Gannon will play on the team. He also plays for Kehler in Salmon Arm.
The WHL's 2nd round of playoffs begin Thursday. No upsets in the opening round to some surprise. Usually you can count on one or two but not this year.
My predicted WHL Championship series of Portland vs Medicine Hat remains intact for now....
After going 8/8 (like many) in round one, here's my 2nd round predictions:
Saskatoon vs Kootenay - Saskatoon in six
Medicine Hat vs Red Deer - Medicine Hat in six
Portland vs Kelowna - Portland in seven
Spokane vs Tri-City - Spokane in five
I haven't been looking into the Chilliwack mess but have been an interested observer. I hope we see some clarification there in the next week or two. For all intensive purposes, it sounds like teams can begin booking their ferry rides over to the Island for next season. It just remains to be seen if Chilliwack will secure a WHL team for next season or not. I'd think that would be unlikely at this point.
After working in the WHL's smallest market in Swift Current for over a decade, all this franchise relocation talk hits a bit close to home. Whenever there was talk of a franchise on the move, for years the Broncos were always mentioned. I feel for the fans and the people who work for the team. It's not a comfortable place to be in.