Hockey season is back, and so is Jacob Bestebroer.
The local hockey guru returns with his weekly column, with thoughts on the Chilliwack Chiefs and goings on around the BCHL.
This week, the discussion centers around the toughest division in the league and a coach who’s never short on emotion.
I mentioned in last week’s column that a very good team in the BCHL’s Mainland division will miss the playoffs. Another weekend of action proved that there is no weak link in this division. All five teams are good and unless a team gets hit hard by injuries, I don’t expect any team to fall out of the playoff race until very late in the season.
The surprise so far has been the play of the Prince George Spruce Kings. They’ve lost just one of four games, an overtime decision to Langley in what was the most entertaining game of the BCHL Showcase.
The Chiefs earned three points in two games versus Surrey last weekend. A disappointing double overtime 3-2 loss in Surrey Friday (the Chiefs led 2-0 at the half way mark) was followed by a 4-2 home-ice win on Saturday. Chilliwack shook off a very slow start by scoring four second period goals. Goaltender Mitch Gillam was very good again, holding off an Eagles team that dominated for about ten minutes after falling behind 3-0.
Next up for the Chiefs are the Victoria Grizzlies, who visit Prospera Centre Saturday night.
The Grizzlies are coached by one of my favorite BCHL people, Bill Bestwick. It seems strange to see him behind Victoria’s bench after he spent the majority of his life playing for and coaching the Nanaimo Clippers. Bill has earned himself a reputation in the league as very bombastic and a master at working the referees.
He doesn’t always win those arguments and back in the days of the old Chilliwack Coliseum he routinely found himself tossed from games. Whenever that happened he would join the idiots in section A (I can say that because I was one of them) for the remainder of the game. Bill if you are reading this, I’ll have a seat saved for you Saturday night.
A reminder that the first annual Chiefs/Salvation Army golf tournament is one week from today.
If you are interested in taking part on Sept. 27, all the details are on the Chiefs website. The goal of the tournament is to raise enough money for the lease of a new three-ton reefer truck desperately needed to service the Upper Valley Salvation Army Food Bank Program. All the Chiefs players and staff will be there helping out.
One last note on the BCHL Showcase held here two weeks ago. Former Mayor and BCHL Showcase Committee Chairperson Clint Hames did an impact assessment of the event and the results are very impressive.
In addition to socio/cultural impacts that cannot be measured in dollars and cents, the final conservative estimate of the economic impact on Chilliwack is $540,000-$750,000. I can tell you that the league was very happy with the job Chilliwack did hosting the event and will discuss the future of the event at their governors meeting on Oct.1.