The Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club has built a reputation of having one of the best sheets of curling ice on P.E.I.
Many would say that it is the best in the province and a lot of the credit goes to Bob Tucker, who is The Fox’s head ice tech. I visited the local club this past week, and it becomes quite evident of the respect and appreciation curlers have for Tucker.
“Bob Tucker and his crew do an excellent job,” said Des Arsenault, a longtime Silver Fox member, “and we appreciate their efforts.” Arsenault adds The Fox ice is as good as you will find anywhere.
One does not have to talk to Tucker for long to realize how much pride he has in his work. Tucker is really enthused over the printed synthetic sheets that are being used for the first time in the province. Put out by the Jet Ice Company, the sheets take the place of paint, and can be made the way the club wants, explained Tucker. They are supposed to have a 10-year lifespan, and although the initial costs are a bit high, the club will save money in the long run not having to use paint and the labour and mess to put it on.
When told that curlers are impressed with the ice, Tucker was quick to deflect the praise to the many volunteers and fantastic crew with him that make his job a lot easier.
Norma Sonier says that the ice has been great all year, and is the envy of curlers province-wide.
“Curlers love the ice here,” says Sonier. “We, as members, are so fortunate to have such a nice facility.
“It would great if we could get out more young people as there are not enough new curlers coming through the ranks.”
The club is taking steps to introduce the game to more as they have set up a Wednesday night drop-in night for new curlers, or anyone who would like to try the sport. For 10 bucks you get an evening's curling with instruction, as well as some snacks and refreshments afterwards. It sounds like fun and a great way to get introduced to the sport.
It is not often a hockey team can be playing at a clip of five games under .500 and still get praise. That is the case for this year's Summerside Western Capitals, who carried a 14-19-2-2 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) record into last night's game in Woodstock.
A lot of teams are very poor the year after hosting the RBC Cup national championship, but the Caps seem to be an exception. This team continues to work hard and play well, even after a lot of veterans were moved at the deadline.
The Caps, who now have only three 20-year-olds in the lineup, had every excuse to be poor, but that is not the case. They can play with any team in the league, and they could very well be one of those Cinderella teams come playoff time, which is just over five weeks away.
Head coach Tim Schurman and his staff have done a great job with this team, and it’s starting to show with increasing attendance numbers as the season goes on.
Caps’ fans have been a bit spoiled with all the success the team has had in recent years – winning three Kent Cups since 2009.
You cannot win every year in junior hockey, and most teams go through a big rebuild. That is where general manager Pat McIver has done a nice job in putting together this team.
The Caps are probably not going to win a league championship this year, but it looks like they have the type of team that can make life miserable for a team or teams they will face in the playoffs.
There is no substitute for hard work, and that alone can carry a team a long way. The Caps have only 11 games left in the regular season, which concludes the first week of March.
The Caps are in Miramichi on Saturday, and return home for a pair of games next weekend. They host the Valley Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 7, and Miramichi visits on Sunday, Feb. 9.
. . . Claude Noel became the latest coach to be fired in the NHL, and the way the Winnipeg Jets have played since has people wondering why didn’t it happen sooner? The Jets have played great for new coach Paul Maurice, winning six of eight games while closing to within eight points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
. . . It is interesting to note that 21 of the 30 NHL coaches have been in their position for three years or less. Barry Trotz is the longest-serving coach in the NHL as this is his 15th season at the helm of the Nashville Predators. He is the only coach the Preds have ever had. Mike Babcock is the second-longest serving coach in his ninth season with the Detroit Red Wings.
. . . Speaking of the Wings, it has been a real struggle for them this season, and if they do not turn it around soon their streak of 22 consecutive years in the playoffs will be on the line. They lost 5-0 in Philadelphia this past week, and that game was the third straight game they were shut out on the road. That has not happened to the Wings since 1928 – 86 years ago.
. . . The Phoenix Coyotes will become the Arizona Coyotes next season, and will be the fifth team to have their state as their first name. The New Jersey Devils, Florida Panthers, Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild are the others.
. . . Fans will want to see as much as they can over the next week as the league is set to shut down for the Sochi Olympics. Over 150 NHL players are expected to take part. For those fans looking forward to watching, all of Canada's games start at 1 p.m., local time, with the gold-medal game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 22, at 8 a.m., local time.
Have a great week!
Joe MacIntyre is a Summerside resident. His column appears every Saturday. Comments and suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.