There’s a lot happening in the Prince George sporting scene these days, to say the least.
Perhaps it’s not any worse than last year, when on top of the usual activities in February, there was the one-year wonder in the Canadian Indoor Soccer League, the Prince George Fury.
But it’s certainly not any lighter either. Hockey and basketball may be the prominent sports, with the Cougars, Spruce Kings, Cariboo Cougars, university and high school basketball. But that’s not all.
We can thank the Northern Sport Centre for the emergence of the Northern Football Combine, which returns for its fourth year this weekend. This event has turned into a key scouting and recruitment tool for junior and varsity coaches throughout B.C. For players, it gives them an opportunity to work on their skills during the offseason.
Back to the ice, the Prince George Mohawks are in high gear on the senior AAA hockey loop, preparing to head to Fort St. John for the Savage Cup provincial championship tournament. Obviously they can’t schedule games based on what else is occurring in the city, but they probably would’ve attracted more fans at the Coliseum on the weekend had the Cougars and Cariboo Cougars not also had home doubleheaders.
Speed skating, gymnastics, figure skating, skiing, martial arts and swimming are also well into their respective seasons. At least the Inner City Boxing Club isn’t quite as busy.
A year ago, B.C. might’ve been engulfed in Olympic fever as Vancouver and Whistler hosted the games. The event was much closer to P.G. than the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax. However, both events are of significance to the city. This month’s Canada Winter Games is the last of its kind until Prince George hosts the 2015 competition.
I could also mention that there’s a badminton fundraiser at CNC on Saturday. What maybe topped off how my month at work has been going is this: finding out that we have lacrosse players heading to field lacrosse provincials this weekend.
A lacrosse tournament in February? No kidding.
This busyness of February is not news to me. It’s always been that way. Certainly I’m not complaining either.
But I will mention this. Anybody interested in getting publicity in advance of an event, or seeing a score or results in the paper, please e-mail me at sports@pgfreepress in advance. I can’t be everywhere at once, but I’ll see that I get something in the newspaper.
Here are a few of my thoughts on other sports topics:
Cougars attendance This topic has been analysed to death, so I won’t fill a lot of space on the subject yet (look for more on the issue at the end of the season). But I will mention a quote I’d heard the team’s vice president Brandy Brodsky say in a recent TV interview. She noted that they didn’t get themselves in that position overnight and attendance won’t turn around overnight either. No kidding. They’ve played all but five home games this season and attendance continues to flounder around the 2,000 mark. But one season of .500 hockey doesn’t erase three straight seasons of mediocrity. Certainly there are other factors that come into play as well, such as the economy, technological advances and other entertainment options.
UNBC’s final home weekend I understand schedules are made in advance, but was there any indication the CBC Bearcats would have a competitive basketball team this BCCAA season? It’s a shame that the final home-games for men’s players Inderbir Gill and Matt Mills, and women’s players Christine Kennedy and Sarah Moxley, were against CBC.
Playing against his former team might’ve made the occasion memorable for Mills, but these teams could’ve used a tougher test for their last games before playoffs. Regardless, Gill’s performance on Saturday still made the drive up University Way to catch the games at the Northern Sport Centre worth it. Gill’s UNBC tenure won’t be remembered for one game but with 41 points on Saturday night, he put on one last show for the UNBC faithful.
Backing into playoffs Considering how the Quesnel Millionaires got into the playoffs, I’d be surprised if they gave the Penticton Vees much of a run in the BCHL opening round. Much has been made about the Spruce Kings’ late push for a playoff spot, as they fell two points short but weren’t mathematically eliminated until their final regular-season game.
Kudos to a young Spruce Kings team for not giving up. But with five wins, seven losses, a tie and four overtime defeats (5-7-1-4) in 2011, they didn’t exactly finish the season on a hot streak. By comparison, the Mills are 2-13-2-2 this year and didn’t collect one point in their final three regular-season games.
One of those two Millionaire wins came against the Spruce Kings, and that 3-2 victory in Quesnel on Feb. 8 proved to be crucial.